Black Rock Desert

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 38.97°N
  • 112.5°W

  • 1800 m
    5904 ft

  • 327050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Black Rock Desert.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Black Rock Desert.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Black Rock Desert.

Eruptive History


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


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1290 ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Ice Springs Craters

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.

Photo Gallery


Pavant Butte, a large tuff cone in the Black Rock Desert volcanic field, was constructed on top of pahoehoe and aa lava flows about 16,000 years ago. Pavant Butte owes its morphology to the fact that it was erupted through a water depth of 85 m in Pleistocene Lake Bonneville. A prominent wave-cut shoreline is visible on the flanks of the cone. The subaerial portion of the 275-m-high cone consists of palagonite, formed by alteration of volcanic glass. The Pavant field is the northernmost in the Black Rock Desert.

Photo by Willie Scott, 1991 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
The inconspicuous hill on the left-center horizon to the SW is Ice Springs volcano, part of the Black Rock Desert volcanic field in central Utah. The black area extending across the photo from the cinder cone complex is a 660-year-old basaltic lava flow from Ice Springs volcano. An additional NNE-SSW chain of small volcanic vents is located NE of the main vent complex. The volcanic fields in the Black Rock Desert area were first described by pioneering U.S. Geological Survey geologist G.K. Gilbert in the late 19th century.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The multi-colored scoria deposits of the eastern side of Crescent Crater, part of the cinder and spatter cone complex at Ice Springs volcanic field, are the object of a mining operation to produce road aggregate. Ice Springs was the source of Utah's youngest lava flow about 660 years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The youngest volcanic eruptions in Utah took place from the Ice Springs volcanic center. Root fragments from soil beneath the lava flow are C-14 dated at 660 +/- 170 years old. Lava flows from the Ice Springs crater complex traveled about 4 km to the west and north, overlapping late-Pleistocene flows from the Pavant volcano. This view looks to the west from the rim of Crescent Crater, the largest of the overlapping cinder and spatter cones that fed the flows. Pocket Crater is the symmetrical cone in the center of the photo.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Farmlands encroach on the eastern margin of the Ice Springs lava flow, Utah's youngest. The 660-year-old lava flow originated from a complex of cinder and spatter cones and extends a maximum distance of 8 km from its source. The flow contains abundant xenoliths of partially fused granite.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The Black Rock Desert volcanic field consists of a cluster of closely spaced small volcanic fields of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age in the Black Rock and Sevier deserts. This view shows Utah's youngest known lava flow, the 660-year-old Ice Springs flow, which originated from a series of nested cinder and spatter cones. The rim of Crescent Crater is at the right, with the symmetrical Pocket Crater at the left and Pavant Butte in the distance. This tuff cone erupted through the waters of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville about 16,000 years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The Terrace, a crater seen here in the foreground from the rim of Mitre Crater, was the source of the voluminous lava flows seen extending toward the SE. The crater derives its name from several terraces, now partly removed by quarrying operations, that were formed by cooled lava lakes. These SE flows from The Terrace are the youngest of a series of eruptions at the Ice Springs volcanic field about 660 years ago. The Ice Springs volcanic field is one of several closely spaced volcanic fields in the Black Rock Desert of south-central Utah.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The summit of Ice Springs volcano provides a perspective of the extensive lava field erupted from the volcano about 660 years ago. Ash and scoria from Crescent Crater on the east side of the cone complex was blown primarily to the east by prevailing winds and forms the lighter-colored material that mantles the lava flow in this direction. The eastern lava flows were erupted early during the Ice Springs eruption. The road in the foreground provides access to a quarrying operation at the cinder and spatter cone complex.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1996 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


The following 9 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections. Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description
NMNH 111123-100 Basalt
NMNH 111123-97 Scoria
NMNH 117121 Basalt volcanic bomb
NMNH 117122 Basalt
NMNH 35372 Basalt
NMNH 35372 Basalt
NMNH 35374 Basalt
NMNH 35374 Basalt
NMNH 35538 Volcanic lapilli

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