Facts About Cinder Cones

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Cinder cone volcanoes typically have a flattened top.
Cinder cone volcanoes typically have a flattened top.

Cinder cones are one of most common types of volcanoes, according to the website Think Quest. Eruptions of cinder cones don't often make headlines because they rarely cause deaths.

  1. Formation

    • Cinder cones form when lava flows from a vent, or hole, in the Earth's surface, forming ash that builds up to form the volcano. Scientists refer to this falling ash as cinders, which gives this type of volcano its name.


    • Cinder cones generally feature steep slopes that form a conical mountain, with a noticeable crater that gives the volcano a flat shape at its top. This makes the cinder cone distinguishable from the composite volcano, which has a pointed top.


    • Most cinder cones reach heights of less than 1,000 feet above other mountains or landforms that surround the volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


    • Cinder cones typically develop to the side of other volcanoes, such as shield volcanoes or calderas, the USGS says.

    Time Frame

    • Unlike other types of volcanoes, cinder cones develop in a relatively short period of time, rather than over hundreds of years. For example, a vent in Paricutin, Mexico that began erupting in 1943 produced a cinder cone 1,200 feet high in only nine years, the USGS says.


    • In addition to the volcano in Paricutin, other cinder cones include Cerro Negro in Nicaragua, Lava Butte in Oregon and Sunset Crater in Arizona.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of flydime


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