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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Snow capped volcanic mountains standing on the edge of the desert plains: That's Sunset Crater Volcano, near Flagstaff, Arizona, the youngest in a string of volcanoes (the San Francisco volcanic field) that is related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.
I can only imagine the horror of the local native Americans a thousand years ago when the volcano blew it's top. The accompanying earthquake, earth trembling, darkness, thunder and lightning must have been terrifying. The aftermath is a huge crater, which Mother Nature has now covered with trees and bushes. The lava flow, now solidified, of course, goes on for miles; flatlands and mountains, all covered with the ash from the eruption. The black rock is incredibly scenic with large chunks in one area and fine cinders in others. To see into the crater, one will need full hiking gear and be prepared for a long walk away from marked and serviced paths.
I've been to many volcanic sites, but this one, black rock in the middle of a brown and green countryside where volcanism seems out of place, sticks out as being very special.
July 5th, 2012
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