Geology in the Parks home NPS home USGS home National Park Service/US Geological Survey banner
Mojave title bar
Click to see map showing field trip stops Cinder Cones National Natural Landmark title
one of many cinder cones visible from Kelbaker Rd., Mojave National Preserve
The skyline of Cima Dome is interrupted by the conical outlines of dozens of remarkably well-preserved volcanic cinder cones and black basalt lava flows. The earliest began about 7.6 million years ago and eruptions continued until at least 10,000 years ago, near the end of the most recent ice age.
Vessicular (bubbly) texture in basalt
Unlike the violently explosive eruptions that created the rocks of Hole-in-the-wall, cinder cones form when lava erupts as relatively benign liquid fountains. As lava is spewed through the air, it solidifies instantly, often preserving bubbles created by escaping gasses. If an eruption of this type continues long enough, fragments accumulate to form a cinder cone.
Cinder cones with basalt flows
Cinder cones can develop very quickly. They typically end their lives with an outpouring of black basalt lava that flows across the landscape. Kelbaker Road passes through one of the youngest lava flows. See location on map below.
Map showing locations of basalt flows and cinder cones This map (click to enlarge) shows the locations of cinder cones and lava flows that make up Cinder Cones National Natural Landmark. You can see where Kelbaker Road crosses the toe of one of lava flows. This is a great spot to view basalt up close.
The eruptions that produced this surreal landscape arrived late in the history of Basin and Range crustal stretching described at Hole in the Wall.
buttonView geologic map of area (large files!)

On to Mitchell Caverns

Back to field trip menu

| Mojave geology home | Mojave National Preserve home |
| Locate Mojave | Mojave geology field trip | Education resources | Geologist’s page |
Mojave horizontal bar
| USGS Geology in the Parks home | NPS Park Geology Tour home |

This site is a cooperative project of the
US Geological Survey Western Earth Surface Processes Team
and the National Park Service.

Please share your comments and suggestions with us!
This page was last updated 3/24/99