32 Years in 52 Weeks – Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona

Sunset Crater does give an otherworldly appearance.  That can explain why in the 1960’s, NASA had astronauts practice for the first lunar landing in the cinder fields and lava flows around the crater.  The vent at the top of the volcano is 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape.   This giant hole made for an ideal training ground for NASA.

Sunset Crater is also the only eruption in the Southwest witnessed by the locals, as the Colorado Plateau’s most recent volcanic eruption.  Prior to western inhabitation, archeologists believed the Sinagua Indian culture lived in pithouses they dug in the area and farmed corn fields in the open meadows.  Research reveals burned pithouses filled with cinders and lava.

If you look closely you will see how life returns on the cinder field with small batches of wildflowers, desert shrubs, pine and aspen trees, as well as wildlife, in an arid volcanic landscape.

It was President Herbert Hoover whom established the national monument on May 26, 1930 to protect the unique geologic formations for all future generations to enjoy.  It is believed that nineteenth-century explorer John Wesley Powell named Sunset Crater as he marveled at the red and yellow rim colors.  Today the National Monument protects 3040 acres surrounded by Coconino National Forest and is the youngest, least-eroded cinder cone in the San Francisco Volcanic Field.  We invite you to join us on our trip to Sunset Crater National Monuments and an ice cave that is no longer open to the public.

Let’s go!
Lisa and Don DeLucia DeLuciaOutdoors

See this as a video on our You Tube channel here.

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