Mono Lake Volcanic Field

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 38°N
  • 119.03°W

  • 2121 m
    6957 ft

  • 323110
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Mono Lake Volcanic Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Mono Lake Volcanic Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Mono Lake Volcanic Field.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1790 CE

2121 m / 6957 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)
Lava dome(s)

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The Mono Lake volcanic field east of Yosemite National Park and north of the Mono Craters consists of vents within Mono Lake and on its north shore. The most topographically prominent feature, Black Point, is an initially sublacustral basaltic cone that rises above the NW shore and was formed about 13,300 years ago when Mono Lake was higher. Holocene rhyodacitic lava domes and flows form Negit and parts of Paoha islands off the northern shore and center of the lake, respectively. The most recent eruptive activity in the Long Valley to Mono Lake region took place 100-230 years ago, when lake-bottom sediments forming much of Paoha Island were uplifted by intrusion of a rhyolitic cryptodome (Stine, in Bailey et al. 1989). Spectacular tufa towers line the shores of Mono Lake.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Bailey R A, Miller C D, Sieh K, 1989. Excursion 13B: Long Valley caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters volcanic chain. New Mexico Bur Mines Min Resour Mem, 47: 227-254.

Bursik M, Sieh K, 1989. Range front faulting and volcanism in the Mono Basin, eastern California. J Geophys Res, 94: 15, 585-15,609.

California Div. Mines and Geology, 1958-69. Geologic atlas of California, 1:250,0000 scale.. Calif Div Mines Geol.

Hildreth W, 2004. Volcanological perspectives on Long Valley, Mammoth Mountain, and Mono Craters: several contiguous but discrete systems. J Volc Geotherm Res, 136: 169-198.

Kilbourne R T, Chesterman C W, Wood S H, 1980. Recent volcanism in the Mono Basin-Long Valley Region of Mono County, California. Calif Div Mines Geol Spec Rpt, 150: 7-22.

Sarna-Wojcicki A M, Champion D E, Davis J O, 1983. Holocene volcanism in the conterminous United States and the role of silicic volcanic ash layers in correlation of latest Pleistocene and Holocene deposits. In: Wright H E (ed) {Late-Quaternary Environments of the United States}, Minneapolis: Univ Minnesota Press, 2: 52-77.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1890 Aug 23 (?) ] [ 1890 Aug 23 (?) ] Uncertain    
1790 ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Paoha Island
1550 ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Negit Island
1150 ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Hydration Rind Paoha Island
0350 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Mono Lake Islands


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Black Point Cone 2121 m 38° 2' 0" N 119° 6' 0" W
Negit Island Cone 2024 m 38° 1' 0" N 119° 3' 0" W
Paoha Island Cone 2042 m 38° 1' 0" N 119° 2' 0" W

Photo Gallery

Negit Island, capped by the dark-colored cinder cone at the right, was the source of one of the most recent eruptions of the Mono Lake volcanic field. Rhyodacitic lava flows overlie a 1240 AD tephra unit. The light-colored tufa deposits near the western shore of Mono Lake in the foreground were created by deposition of calcium carbonate beneath the waters of the lake.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1973 (Smithsonian Institution).
Paoha Island in the center of Mono Lake at the left is seen from the flanks of Panum Crater on the south, at the northern end of the Mono Craters. The Mono Lake volcanic field consists of multiple volcanic vents on the northern shore of the lake and on Paoha and Negit Islands, which were last active a few hundred years ago.

Photo by Dan Dzurisin, 1982 (U.S. Geological Survey).
The Mono Lake volcanic field consists of rhyolitic lava domes and flows, phreatic explosion craters, and cinder cones on islands in Mono Lake and on its northern shore. This view shows explosion craters on Paoha Island, with the Mono Craters dome complex and the Sierra Nevada in the distance to the south. The ages of the most recent eruptions of the Mono Lake volcanic field range from about 2000 to about 200 years.

Photo by Dan Dzurisin, 1983 (U.S. Geological Survey).
Negit (right-center) and Paoha (far right) islands in Mono Lake are seen from Black Point, a basaltic cone on the NW shore of the lake. The most recent eruptive activity from the Mono Lakes volcanic field took place 100-230 years ago, when lake-bottom sediments forming much of Paoha Island were uplifted by intrusion of a rhyolitic cryptodome. Black Point is an initially sublacustral cone that formed about 13,300 years ago when the lake was higher. The White Mountains form the far right horizon.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Mono Lake Volcanic Field in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Mono Lake Volcanic Field Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.