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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, AZ #15

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is dedicated to the memory and life of the sweetest lady in Richmond, VA, Cindy Herndon Parcell.

Sunset Crater Volcano last erupted 933 years ago. Volcanoes leave an indelible mark on the land that lasts thousands of years. There are places in this monument where it would be plausible if you were told the eruption was last year. It looks that fresh in areas!

I'm going to apologize for the quality of the pictures, it was getting late in the day.

Upon leaving Wupatki and entering Sunset Crater, the first thing you notice are cinder cones everywhere.

There are at least 7 visible cinder cones in this picture alone!

It's reminiscent of the Great Sand Dunes but black.

Close up of what the soil/volcanic matter looks like.

Each one of these little balls is 1/8"-1" in diameter.

It's rather like walking on crunchy ball bearings.

The next hike we did was on the west side of Sunset Crater. It was really two different trails; the A'a Trail and The Lava Flow Trail. This is a fascinating area with spatter cones and squeeze-ups! If you choose to do the Lava Flow Trail, take your time. Do not take your eyes off the trail as we did and trip. It's not a difficult trail at all but the roly poly nature of the volcanic matter makes it a little tricky, plus it is sharp and will cut you...and ice, there was ice. Stop completely to look around and take pictures.

So, what is a spatter cone and a squeeze-up?

A spatter cone is formed when lava pops up through a cooled section of lava flow. They are fed by an underlying flow, not deep magma.

This is a spatter cone.

A squeeze up is defined as when molten lava oozes out a linear crack in a solid lava shell. The immense weight of the shell as it curves causes it to crack and the molten lava creates a new river of lava. It leaves some very bizarre shapes!

Here's a graphic of how it happens.

Very interesting landscape!

I'm calling this one Rainbow Rock!

Sunset Crater Volcano is quite stark and stunning from the west side, especially with the moon rising behind it.

As we were leaving the monument to the west I took this picture as the sun was setting on Sunset Crater Volcano.

It was at this point, my phone rang and I was informed that our sweet friend, Cindy Parcell, had left us for Heaven. We were so saddened and tearful; but it seemed fitting that the sun was setting on Sunset Crater and on Cindy's exemplary life here on earth, but she was rising with the sun in Heaven and seeing the Son in all His glory. Shine on sweet friend, shine on...

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