Ubehebe Crater Sunset

Death Valley National Park

USGS description of Ubehebe Crater can give a more lucid description of what happened here around 2,000 years ago. "Magma worked its way through the fault-weakened rock toward the surface. Some of Ubehebe Crater field's most dramatic eruptions occurred when magma met water-soaked bedrock and alluvial fan sediments. In an instant, water flashed to steam, and a violent release of steam-powered energy blasted away the confining rock above. (This is called a hydrovolcanic eruption.) It produced a dense, ground-hugging cloud of rocky debris which surged out from the base at up to 100 miles/hour, decimating the landscape. A fiery fountain of lava erupted with a roar, forming a vent to the south of what is now Ubehebe Crater. Liquid rock was thrown into the air, then fell to the ground as solidified cinders or partially-molten lava blocks and bombs. A ring of black volcanic material soon builds around the central vent. The first of the Ubehebe Crater complex is born.". Photo © copyright by Frank LeBlanc.