VHP Photo Glossary: Cinder cone
A cinder cone is a steep, conical hill of volcanic fragments that accumulate around and downwind from a vent. The rock fragments, often called cinders or scoria, are glassy and contain numerous gas bubbles quot;frozenquot; into place as magma exploded into the air and then cooled quickly. Cinder cones range in size from tens to hundreds of meters tall.
This cinder cone (Pu`u ka Pele) was erupted low on the southeast flank of Mauna Kea Volcano. The cone is 95 m in height, and the diameter of the crater at the top is 400 m. Hualalai Volcano in background.
More about cinder cones:
- More photos of cinder cones
Did you know?
- Cinder cones usually erupt lava flows, either through a breach on one side of the crater or from a vent located on a flank. Lava rarely issues from the top (except as a fountain) because the loose, non cemented cinders are too weak to support the pressure exerted by molten rock as it rises toward the surface through the central vent.
- Perhaps the most famous cinder cone, Paricutin, grew out of a corn field in Mexico in 1943 from a new vent. Eruptions continued for 9 years, built the cone to a height of 424 meters, and produced lava flows that covered 25 km2.
- Cinder cones are commonly found on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. For example, geologists have identified nearly 100 cinder cones on the flanks of Mauna Kea, a shield volcano located on the Island of Hawai`i (these cones are also referred to as scoria cones and cinder and spatter cones).
- The Earth's most historically active cinder cone is Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. It is part of a group of four young cinder cones NW of Las Pilas volcano. Since it was born in 1850, it has erupted more than 20 times, most recently in 1992 and 1995.