After driving through Monument Valley, we headed southwest to Sunset Crater National Monument in Arizona. Sunset Crater is a cinder cone volcano that began erupting in about 1064-1065 AD and continued, intermittently, for about 150 years. Cinder cones are the smallest and steepest of the volcanoes.
Students investigate a collapsed lava tube within the Bonito Lava Flow, which began erupting from the west flank of Sunset Crater around 1180 AD. This particular opening is host to an ice cave and provided a cool reprieve from the hot spring afternoon.
SP Crater is located northwest of Sunset Crater and predates its eruption, last erupting about 71,000 years ago. From base to rim is approximately 900 feet. Once on the rim, one can view a 350 feet deep crater. The hike to the rim is very taxing due to the movement of cinders with every step. However the descent can be quite rapid, if you are so inclined.
A group photograph from the rim of SP Crater including (from left): Ashley, Salyna, Ashley, Garrett, McNeill, Bryan, Stefanie, and Danielle.