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 Ubehebe Craters
Aerial photo of Ubehebe Craters, Death Valley, California.

Quick Facts

Ubehebe (pronounced you-bee-hee-bee) Craters, located about 150 miles northeast of Bakersfield in Death Valley National Park, consists of at least a dozen overlapping volcanic craters. The largest crater is about 800 m (0.5 mi) wide and 250 m (800 ft) deep. The craters formed during a series of explosions set off as molten rock (magma) rising toward the Earth’s surface flashed groundwater to steam (phreatic eruption). Although very little magma actually erupted during these events, the explosive magma-water interaction blasted pulverized rock high into the air. Debris from the explosions blankets about 40 km2 (15 mi2). The ages of these explosions are not known precisely, but the largest in the series most likely occurred around 800 years ago. The USGS has no monitoring networks in the vicinity of Ubehebe Craters. Available data are insufficient to quantitatively determine the likelihood of a future eruption in this area. The word Ubehebe is Native American in origin and means "big basket in the rock."
Location: California, Inyo County
Latitude: 37.02° N
Longitude: 117.45° W
Elevation: 752 (m) 2,467 (f)
Volcano type: maar and tuff ring
Composition: basalt
Most recent eruption: 800 years ago
Alert Level: Normal