Cinder Cone Volcano
Although they can refer to a part of a volcano cinder cones, or scoria cones, are actually volcanoes themselves. Cinder cone volcanoes are the volcanoes that most people think of when they picture a volcano erupting. That is because these are the ones that have a cone-shaped peak most people have come to associate with volcanoes in general. The main feature of cinder cone volcanoes is their conical shape together with steeply angled sides.
You are most likely to find this type of volcano near other larger volcanoes and these are relatively small in comparison. They are frequently near calderas, stratovolcanoes and shield volcanoes. They can range from tens of meters to hundreds and will usually be created over much shorter periods of time than other volcanoes. In addition, they will generally be topped by a crater at their summit.
When compared to the eruptions you will find with other volcanoes, cinder cone volcanoes have relatively small ones. In their eruptions the lava will generally erupt from one of the small vents found in the crust and fragments will be sprayed into the air. Because these fragments, called scoria or cinders, are melted rock with gas-filled pieces they cool very quickly and will generally accumulate near the opening of the vent, continuing the development of the cone shape of the volcano. Because these fragments can seem to sparkle and glow, they can make very beautiful and dramatic displays during eruptions.
In some cases when strong winds are blowing at the time of the eruption, cinder cone volcanoes may have slightly different shapes at their base, such as more of a horseshoe instead of the normal circular base.
Cerro Negro is located in Nicaragua and is currently the youngest volcano in Central America. It was first created in April of 1850 and since then has been one of the most active in the country. This volcano is in a group of four cinder cone volcanoes located in the Maribios Range. This cone is the result of Strombolian eruptions that occurred several years apart and is 500 meters high.
Paricutin is a cinder cone located in Mexico and first started developing on a farm in 1943. It was caused by gas escaping from the molten lava within, which then formed cinders which landed around the vent and eventually built the cone to an altitude of 1,200 feet. It also has a crater at the top that is the result of its last explosive eruption. Paricutin was active for nine years, during which time it destroyed the nearby town San Juan and covered a large area of around a hundred square miles with ash.
Lava Butte is one of the over 400 cinder cone volcanoes that surround the Newberry volcano. Normal cones in this area are generally 200 feet high while some of the larger ones reach 400 feet. Lava Butte, however, is 4,970 feet high and has created a flow that goes five miles north and three to the west.
Raton Clayton Volcanic Field
Another area with a great deal of cinder cone volcanoes is the Raton Clayton volcanic field located in the northeastern portion of New Mexico. This area has around 120 cinder cones that range from 2,300 years old to over a million. The youngest cone in this field, Capulin, is also one of the most impressive as its rim has a circumference of around 1.7 kilometers, the volcano itself is 305 meters tall and its crater is 125 meters deep.
Sunset Crater is in the group of the youngest cinder cone volcanoes found within the United States (with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska). This volcano was created when a 15 kilometer fissure opened and produced small lava flow in addition to a curtain of fire. Over time the volcano built from the results of this fissure.