Saturday, March 26, 2011

If I had the Time and Money...Part 1

One of the places I would like to visit is the San Francisco Volcanic Field, North and Northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. Especially Sunset Crater.

Having passed by the area each time I visited the Grand Canyon, I knew a little about the field, that it was composed of a combination of composite volcanoes and cinder cones and that it was relatively young, but I knew little else.

While surfing the Geoblogosphere, I happened across the short, photographic post at Geologic Froth, on Red Mountain, which is a dissected cinder cone in the San Franciso Volcanic Field. The photos showed what appear to be bedded, volcaniclastic sediments, including cinders preserved in some canyons within the Red Mountain area.

Following up, I found this link with a more detailed USGS report.

According to the USGS Fact Sheet:

"Red Mountain is one of several hundred cinder cones within a swath of volcanic landscape that extends 50 miles eastward from Williams, Arizona, through Flagstaff to the canyon of the Little Colorado River."...

..."The San Francisco Volcanic Field has been active for about 6 million years, and Red Mountain is roughly 740,000 years old."...

Those of us within the realm of Geology usually think in terms of deep time and we understand that anything volcanic less than 1 million years old (per current interpretations) is young and could be susceptible to a reoccurance. 

Thinking as a Geologist, consider the scientific and tourism value of a new cinder cone near Sunset Crater.  Cinder cones and shield volcanoes generally cause a bit less mayhem than pyroclastic eruptions and/or lahar
flows from stratovolcanoes.

That just begins a "laundry list" of places I would like to visit/re-visit in the Grand Canyon State, partially because digital cameras were not available last time.  The only places I have been since having a digital camera have been the Grand Canyon and the Sedona area on a brief, pass-through trip.

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