Geology and National Parks
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center home
The information found here reflects completed USGS work. The content of this page is static and has not been updated since the mid 2000's.
Tremors shook the Earth, issuing a warning to Sinagua people living nearby. Then, just over nine hundred and thirty years ago, a blink of an eye on the geologic time scale, Sunset Crater Volcano rumbled to life. Fiery lava spewed up from a central vent, drawing molten rock from ten kilometers beneath the surface. Fountains of glowing liquid lava rose hundreds of meters into the air, falling to Earth as cinders.
Remarkably well-preserved evidence of Sunset Crater Volcano's sudden birth is now protected in the National Monument. We would love to share it with you! Come explore our colorful cinder cone on a virtual field trip. We will take you along a trail that winds across one of the frozen rivers of lava that gushed from Sunset Crater Volcano's rocky flanks. While you're visiting, why not step into our visitor center to see our seismograph record of Arizona's earthquakes? Are you looking for 'just the facts'? Click on the Sunset Volcano button to get the details you're looking for.
Sunset Crater Volcano Field Trip
Sunset Crater Volcano Facts
Seismicity at Sunset Crater Volcano