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Craters of the Moon Volcanic Field

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Craters of the Moon volcanic field lies at the northwest margin of the Idaho's eastern Snake River Plain.

Quick Facts

Location: Idaho, Snake River Plain

Latitude: 43.42° N

Longitude: 113.5° W

Elevation: 2,005 (m) 6,578 (f)

Volcano type: Cinder cones

Composition: Basalt

Threat Potential: Low/Very Low*

*based on the National Volcano Early Warning System

Summary

The northern part of the Craters of the Moon laps up against the White Knob and Pioneer Mountains. As the largest volcanic field in the region, it covers about 1600 km2 (620 mi2) and contains more than 60 discernible lava flows that were erupted from one fissure system during eight episodes over the past approximately 15 k.y. About 25 cinder cones, up to 250-m (820-ft) high, formed primarily along a 45-km-long (28-mi-long) segment of the Great Rift volcanic rift zone, the principal 2-8 km (1.2-5 mi) wide fissure system that trends northwest to southeast through Craters of the Moon National Monument. The eight eruptive episodes that formed the field occurred between about 15,000 and 2,000 years ago and were separated by quiescent periods averaging about 2,000 years in duration. The Craters of the Moon volcanic field is a polygenetic group of lava flows, meaning that it erupted multiple times. This contrasts with other Snake River Plain lava fields, which were formed during single eruptive episodes of relatively short duration; they are monogenetic lava fields.

News

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The Big Buttes of the Eastern Snake River Plain

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Craters of the Moon: Idaho's last (and next?) volcanic eruption

Publications

2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment

When erupting, all volcanoes pose a degree of risk to people and infrastructure, however, the risks are not equivalent from one volcano to another because of differences in eruptive style and geographic location. Assessing the relative threats posed by U.S. volcanoes identifies which volcanoes warrant the greatest risk-mitigation efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners. This update

Authors
John W. Ewert, Angela K. Diefenbach, David W. Ramsey

Contrasting magma types and steady-state, volume-predictable, basaltic volcanism along the Great Rift, Idaho

The Great Rift is an 85-km-long, 2- to 8-km-wide volcanic rift zone in the Snake River Plain, Idaho. Three latest Pleistocene to Holocene basaltic lava fields, Craters of the Moon, Kings Bowl, and Wapi, are located along the Great Rift. The Craters of the Moon lava field is a composite of more than 60 lava flows, 25 cinder cones, and at least 8 eruptive fissure systems. It covers 1,600 km2 and con
Authors
M. A. Kuntz, D. E. Champion, E.C. Spiker, R.H. Lefebvre

Science

Volcanic Hazards from the Region Around Craters of the Moon Lava Field

When the Craters of the Moon volcanic field erupts again, it will likely display a variety of eruption styles from high lava fountaining to quiet outpouring of lava flows.
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Volcanic Hazards from the Region Around Craters of the Moon Lava Field

When the Craters of the Moon volcanic field erupts again, it will likely display a variety of eruption styles from high lava fountaining to quiet outpouring of lava flows.
Learn More

Future Eruptions Around Craters of the Moon Lava Field

The Craters of the Moon volcanic field will erupt again, probably within the next few centuries if the recurrence interval of about 2,000 years is sustained.
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Future Eruptions Around Craters of the Moon Lava Field

The Craters of the Moon volcanic field will erupt again, probably within the next few centuries if the recurrence interval of about 2,000 years is sustained.
Learn More