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USGS Geology in the Parks

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Lava flow trail stop 13

Will Sunset Erupt Again?

Cinder cones like Sunset Crater generally have very brief eruptive life spans, lasting from just a few hours to a few dozen years. After over 900 years, it's highly unlikely that Sunset Crater itself will erupt again. Perhaps a better question would be "will new eruptions occur in this region?". The answer to this question is almost certainly yes!

A quick look at a shaded relief map of the Sunset Crater region clearly shows a landscape pock-marked by over 600 volcanoes of varying types and sizes. The eruptions that created these fiery edifices have taken place throughout the past six million years. The simmering magma that feeds the region's eruptions still lies beneath the surface. It is highly unlikely that Sunset will be the last to erupt.

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