This is one of the classic views of
Superstition Mountain (main peak elevation = 5057 feet, 1541 meters). Taken from Lost
Dutchman State Park, this photograph shows some of the towering volcanic rock
formations that comprise the western end of the Superstition Mountains, the name
of the range that includes this mountain.
The cliff faces shown here are part of the Superstition resurgent dome, a
type of explosive feature now coming to be known as a "supervolcano".
Fortunately, this one is very old and inactive.
A resurgent dome forms prior to the eruption of a ,
as monstrous volumes of magma (molten rock), in this case and , build up within the Earth's
crust. Eventually, the magma explodes outward, and the surrounding rocks collapse
back into the remaining cavity, forming a caldera.
The Superstition Caldera last erupted approximately 25 million years
ago, during what is called the . Vast amounts of
superheated volcanic ash then flowed across the landscape, and descended from the sky,
wreaking utter devastation on anything within maybe a hundred miles (160 km).
The Superstition Caldera is part of the , which includes
other volcanic features in the area.
Smaller quantities of ash would also have fallen over a thousand miles (1600
km) away, and the effects on the Earth's climate would have lasted possibly for many
If you want more information about
the Superstition Mountains,
download these three FREE short GeoStories
(PDF files, each <1MB):
Is the lure of Lost Gold is stronger than the lure of Found Gold?
More than one thinks so.