Wapi Lava Field

Photo of this volcano
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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 42.88°N
  • 113.22°W

  • 1604 m
    5261 ft

  • 324030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Wapi Lava Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Wapi Lava Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Wapi Lava Field.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



300 BCE

1604 m / 5261 ft


Volcano Types

Fissure vent(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 Wapi lava field, SE of the Craters of the Moon, covers about 325 sq km, and consists of a low shield volcano formed during an eruption about 2250 years ago that produced about 6 cu km of fluid pahoehoe lava flows. The small King's Bowl rift immediately to the north was also formed at about the same time along a central eruptive fissure flanked by two parallel non-eruptive fissures. This eruption produced a phreatic explosion that created Kings Bowl, an 80-m-long, 30-m-deep explosion crater. Eruptions of the Wapi lava field also overlapped with the last eruptive period of the Craters of the Moon lava field. The vent area lies along the Great Rift of the Craters of the Moon and consists of five major and a half dozen minor vents covering an area of 0.5 sq km. The largest of the vents contains several pit craters that truncate lava lakes that filled the crater. Pillar Butte, a mass of layered lava flows and agglutinates, forms the high point of the lava shield. The Split Butte maar to the west is partially overlapped by flows of the Wapi lava field.


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

Greeley R, King J S (eds), 1977. Volcanism of the eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho: a comparative planetary geology guidebook. NASA (Washington, DC), CR-154621: 1-308.

Green J, Short N M, 1971. Volcanic Landforms and Surface Features: a Photographic Atlas and Glossary. New York: Springer-Verlag, 519 p.

Hughes S S, Smith R P, Hackett W R, Anderson S R, 1999. Mafic volcanism and environmental geology of the eastern Snake River Plain. In: Hughes S S, Thackray G D (eds), {Guidebook to the Geology of eastern Idaho}, Pocatello, Idaho: Idaho Musuem of Nat Hist, p 143-168.

Hughes S S, Smith R P, Hackett W R, McCurry M, Anderson S R, Ferdock G C, 1997. Bimodal magmatism, basaltic volcanic styles, tectonics, and geomorphic processes of the eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho. Brigham Young Univ Geol Studies, 42: 423-458.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Kuntz M A, Champion D E, Lefebvre R H, Covington H R, 1988. Geologic map of the Craters of the Moon, Kings Bowl, and Wapi lava fields and the Great Rift volcanic rift zone, south-central Idaho. U S Geol Surv Misc Invest Ser Map, I:1632, 1:100,000 scale geol map.

Kuntz M A, Champion D E, Spiker E C, Lefebvre R H, McBroome L A, 1982. The Great Rift and the evolution of the Craters of the Moon lava field, Idaho. In: Bonnichsen B, Breckenridge R M (eds), {The Great Rift and the Evolution of the Craters of the Moon Lava Field, Idaho}, Idaho Bur Mines Geol Bull, 26: 423-437.

Kuntz M A, Covington H R, Schorr L J, 1992. An overview of basaltic volcanism of the eastern Snake River Plain. In: Link P K, Kuntz M A, Platt L B (eds), {Regional Geology of Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming}, Geol Soc Amer Mem, 179: 227-267.

Prinz M, 1970. Idaho rift system, Snake River Plain, Idaho. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 81: 941-948.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0300 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Tephrochronology Kings Bowl Rift, Wapi Lava Field

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.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Pillar Butte Shield volcano 1604 m 42° 53' 0" N 113° 13' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
King's Bowl Rift Fissure vent 1500 m 42° 56' 0" N 113° 13' 0" W
Split Butte Maar 1410 m 43° 0' 0" N 113° 18' 0" W

Photo Gallery

Dark lava flows extend from the 6-km-long Kings Bowl Rift SE of Craters of the Moon. These flows were erupted at the same time as the much more massive Wapi lava field flows immediately to the south that covered about 300 sq km, forming a broad, low shield volcano about 2250 years ago. The light-colored area overlying the lava flows at the lower center of the photo is an ash deposit produced by explosions from Kings Bowl crater.

Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.
The dramatic Kings Bowl rift cutting diagonally across the top of the photo produced a small 6-sq-km lava field about 2250 years ago immediately north of the much larger Wapi lava field. Kings Bowl itself is the small elongated crater on the right-center side of the rift in this photo; it formed during a phreatic explosion that deposited lighter-colored tephra to the east (upper right). The massive Wapi lava field, located out of view south (right) of Kings Bowl, covers an area of about 325 sq km and originated from Pillar Butte, a small shield volcano.

Photo by Susan Sakimoto (NASA, courtesy of Scott Hughes, Idaho State University).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Wapi Lava 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.