Sunset Crater Volcano | Flagstaff, AZ
29 May 2018
The sun was just waking up, as were we, when we merged onto the 40, headed to Flagstaff. No plan. No idea of what to do. We were just going. We found ourselves at Sunset Crater Volcano NP. Mistakenly made it here instead of meteor crater. This is what happens when I am the designated navigator. Not complaining though.
The crater is what is found at the top of the volcano, but you can't go up there. This volcano erupted in 1064 and unlike other cinder-cone volcanoes, this one decided it wanted to blow off some steam and erupt for 200 years. Exhausting.
The Sunset Crater eruption produced a blanket of ash and lapilli covering an area of more of 2,100 square kilometers and forced the temporary abandonment of settlements of the local Sinagua people.
The return of life to Sunset Crater is part of a continuous process of change known as succession. As fresh lava and cinders age and weather, and soil forms, this environment becomes increasingly hospitable to plants and animals. Remember that, in geologic terms, Sunset Crater Volcano is very young. After 800+ years, succession here has just begun.
If you are wanting to look at the top of a cinder-cone volcano, you can take the Lennox-Crater trail (pictured above). This trail may or may not let you look at a cool volcanic crater, but that's the mystery, take this trail and find out.
They stop letting humans hike to the top of the volcano in 1973. Why you may ask!? That is preposterous!
Well, actually, it is not preposterous. In order to preserve the natural beauty of the dormant volcano and in an attempt to erase the damage done previously, you just simply can not climb it. Facts are facts, and the facts state that due thousands and thousands of hikers footprints going up the volcano, it has begun to erode. In the 30+ years since closing the trail, the earth has not yet healed from the damage.