Steam Plumes Along Long Dormant Sunset Crater In Arizona Cause Volcanic Concerns

Visible satellite images are showing that some form of steaming plume event occurred this morning from the long dormant Sunset Crater Volcanic Complex located in Central Arizona.

35°21’53.53″N , 111°29’58.44″W

This volcanic complex has not erupted in over 1,000 years.

From the National Park Service:

“Experience The Surreal!

Sunset Crater Volcano! Roughly 900 years ago, the eruption of this volcano reshaped the surrounding landscape, forever changing the lives of people, plants and animals. Hike the trail through the lava flow and cinders and you’ll likely discover colorful, ruggedly dramatic geological features coexisting with twisted Ponderosa Pines and an amazing array of wildlife.”

Type Cinder cone[2]
Age of rock ~950 years
Last eruption 1075 ± 25 years[2]


Happening in the early morning hours, about 1-2 hours after sunrise going forward to about 10-11am PDT

sunset crater steaming plumes june 3 2015

Seen on GOES visible satellite imagery, this obvious vapor is coming from a desert location on a 100% clear day. (no surrounding cloud cover).

Falling off the live link now unfortunately:


This volcanic steam plume event in Arizona follows a rare Northern Arizona earthquake which struck early this morning at a different dormant volcanic complex.

The 2.7 magnitude earthquake occurred at the Uinkaret Volcanic fields in NW Arizona.

arizona earthquake june 3 2015

The above graphic shows the greater Uinkaret Volcanic complex, which includes multiple ancient volcanoes, lava flows, and fissure points.

It is very rare to see an earthquake in North Arizona to begin with, thus this 2.7M earthquake striking at a dormant volcano is even more rare than just the seismic event itself.


Additionally, there was another earthquake at a large dormant volcanic complex in South Utah at the Markagunt Volcanic Plateau 3 days ago (May 31st).

markagunt plateau may 31 2015 volcanic earthquake

Just as we saw in Northwest Arizona, another rare earthquake struck near the Markagunt Plateau, which consists of a large complex of ancient volcanoes, lava flows, and fissure points.

Seeing rare earthquake activity strike both these dormant volcanic locations, both of which have been dormant for nearly 1,000 years means the steaming event we just saw in Arizona most certainly is related to volcanism, and greater seismic unrest in the region.


Due West of these dormant volcanoes, in California, we also saw several earthquakes strike directly at dormant volcanoes, including Volcano Peak, and Salton Sea Volcanic Buttes.

earthquake california volcano june 2 2015


Add in the large earthquake swarm happening off the West Coast / Oregon, which is occurring along the flanks of a large undersea volcano near the Cleft Segment Volcanic fields, and we begin to see a pattern of volcanic related earthquakes developing.

undersea volcano cleft segment june 2 2015


Overall, even with the plumes erupting at Sunset Crater in Arizona this morning, the chance of eruption is small.  There is a much greater chance of larger earthquake activity than there is a chance of a sudden eruption.

We cannot rule out a sudden eruption however, in light of the sudden eruptions in Japan, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Galapagos (in the past 1-2 months or less).

We have seen several recent unexpected blasts from long silent volcanoes — thus we cannot fully rule out an eruption on the West coast.

There is an eruption already taking place (undersea) off the coast of Oregon, let’s hope things stay out to sea, as opposed to on land.

Original Article:


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