San Quintin Volcanic Field

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 30.468°N
  • 115.996°W

  • 260 m
    853 ft

  • 341002
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for San Quintin Volcanic Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for San Quintin Volcanic Field.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for San Quintin Volcanic Field.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



Unknown - Evidence Uncertain

260 m / 853 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)

Rock Types

Trachybasalt / Tephrite Basanite
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

San Quintín volcanic field on the NW coast of Baja California consists of 11 late-Pleistocene to Holocene volcanic complexes. Low lava shields, initially submarine, are capped by well-preserved scoria cones. San Quintín rocks are similar to intraplate or oceanic island alkalic rocks and differ from other Baja alkalic volcanic suites. San Quintín is the only Quaternary volcanic field in Baja California where lower-crustal and upper-mantle xenoliths are found. The field is located at the margins of the Y-shaped San Quintín Bay and includes a northern and southern group of cones, Monte Mazo (connected to the mainland by a long tombolo), and Isla San Martín, 5 km offshore to the west. The youngest craters overlie deposits thought to be dated at 5-6000 years before present, and Gastil et al. (1975) considered the southern cones of Vizcaino and Sudoeste to possibly be less than 3000 years old. However, later Argon/Argon dating (Ortega-Rivera et al., 2004) restricted eruptions to a range of between about 20,000 to 180,000 years ago.


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

Gastil R G, Phillips R P, Allison E C, 1975. Reconnaissance geology of the State of Baja California. Geol Soc Amer Mem, 140: 1-170.

Luhr J F, Aranda-Gomez J J, Housh T B, 1995. San Quintin volcanic field, Baja California Norte, Mexico: geology, petrology, and geochemistry. J Geophys Res, 100: 10,353-10,380.

Medina F, Suarez F, Espindola J M, 1989. Historic and Holocene volcanic centers in NW Mexico. Bull Volc Eruptions, 26: 91-93.

Ortega-Rivera A, Bohnel H, Lee J, 2004. The San Quintin volcanic field--40Ar/39Ar geochronology and paleomagnetism. Proc Geol Soc Amer Penrose Conf, Metepec, Puebla, Mexico, Abs, p 59.

Saunders A D, Rogers G, Marriner G F, Terrell D J, Verma S P, 1987. Geochemistry of Cenozoic volcanic rocks, Baja California, Mexico: implications for the petrogenesis of post-subduction magmas. J Volc Geotherm Res, 32: 223-245.

Woodford A O, 1928. The San Quintin volcanic field, lower California. Amer J Sci, 15: 337-345.

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from San Quintin Volcanic Field. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the San Quintin Volcanic Field page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

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
Basu Pyroclastic cone
Ceniza, Volcán Pyroclastic cone 186 m 30° 26' 46" N 115° 58' 23" W
Kenton, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 260 m 30° 28' 5" N 115° 59' 46" W
Mazo, Mount Pyroclastic cone 80 m 30° 22' 8" N 115° 59' 49" W
Picacho Pyroclastic cone 100 m 30° 27' 47" N 116° 1' 41" W
Riveroll, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 230 m 30° 29' 13" N 116° 1' 8" W
San Martín Pyroclastic cone 230 m 30° 29' 35" N 116° 6' 47" W
Sudoeste, Volcán
    Southwest Hill
Pyroclastic cone 116 m 30° 26' 35" N 116° 1' 23" W
Woodford Pyroclastic cone

Photo Gallery

Isla San Martín, 6 km off the west coast of Baja California, is the westernmost volcano of the San Quintín volcanic field and the only one that is located offshore. The 2-km-wide island is a small basaltic shield volcano that is capped by scoria cones that rise to 230 m above sea level. Wave erosion has truncated part of the shield volcano, forming the sea cliffs seen at the left on the south side of the island.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
San Quintín volcanic field on the NW coast of Baja California contains lava shields capped by youthful scoria cones. This view looks south from Volcán Basu to Picacho Vizcaino (surrounded by young lava flows), and Volcán Sudoeste (upper left). These are among the youngest features of the San Quintín field. Along with Monte Mazo to the SSE, they are constructed along a N-S line.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Volcán Sudoeste cinder cone and smaller cones at its base are part of the San Quintín volcanic field in México's Baja Peninsula. They are seen here from the north on the slopes of Picacho Vizcaino. Volcán Sudoeste is one of the youngest scoria cones of the San Quintín volcanic field. It lies on a narrow peninsula between the Falsa bay (left) and the Pacific Ocean (right).

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
Volcán Sudoeste, one of a group of young pyroclastic cones of the San Quintín volcanic field, is located at the head of a narrow peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Volcán Sudoeste, seen here from the north, may have initially been an island. The sand bars along the coast, formed by longshore currents, connect Volcán Sudoeste to Monte Mazo, at the southern end of a 10-km-long sand spit.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
A vertical aerial photo shows the nested craters of Volcán Riveroll (right-center) and the intersecting craters of Volcán Basu (below and to the left). The Riveroll craters are breached to the NW (upper left). Dark-colored basaltic lava flows extend to the SE from both cinder cone complexes. The flow from Riveroll diverts around the Kenton cinder cone at the lower right. The light-colored areas are windblown sand. The Pacific coast shoreline is at the left, and the body of water at the upper right is part of San Quintín Bay.

1:25,000 aerial photo by Comisión de Estudios del Territorio Nacional (CETENAL).
Volcán Riveroll, seen here from the NE, is the northernmost of the southern group of cones of the San Quintín volcanic field. A broad crater truncates the summit of the cinder cone and is breached widely to the NW. A smaller nested crater, itself breached to the NW, was constructed within the original crater and is the youngest feature of the volcano.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
Volcán Ceniza (left) and Volcán Kenton (right), seen here from near Chapala, are two of a group of young cinder cones in the southern part of the San Quintín volcanic field in northern Baja California. Along with the Riveroll cone to the NW, they are constructed along a NW-SE line, one of several fracture patterns in the San Quintín field. The two cones form a peninsula jutting into Bahia Falsa, part of which is visible at the left.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
A vertical aerial photograph shows the small, roughly 1-km-wide Isla San Martín, the westernmost of the small volcanoes of the San Quintín volcanic field. Isla San Martín lies 6 km off the Pacific Ocean coast from the rest of the volcanic field and consists of a small basaltic shield volcano capped by a less than 40-m-high cinder cone. The peninsula at the SE (lower right) side of the island is formed by a lava flow.

1:25,000 aerial photo by Comisión de Estudios del Territorio Nacional (CETENAL).
The Woodford group (Ieft) and Media Luna (right), seen here from the SSE, comprise the northern group of cones of the San Quintín volcanic field. The Woodford group consists of a closely spaced cluster of breached cinder cones and associated lava flows. The large cone of Media Luna is breached to the east and fed a lava flow in that direction.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 101 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 116600-1 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-10 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-11 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-12 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-13 Basanite
NMNH 116600-14 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-15 Basanite
NMNH 116600-16 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-17 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-18 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-19 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-2 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-20 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-21 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-22 Basanite
NMNH 116600-23 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-24 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-25 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-26 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-27 Basanite
NMNH 116600-28 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-29 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-3 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-30 Basanite
NMNH 116600-31 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-32 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-33 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-34 Basanite
NMNH 116600-35 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-36 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-37 Basalt
NMNH 116600-38 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-39 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-4 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-40 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-41 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-42 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-43 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-44 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-45 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-46 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-47 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-48 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-49 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-5 Basanite
NMNH 116600-50 Basanite
NMNH 116600-51 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-52 Basanite
NMNH 116600-53 Basanite
NMNH 116600-54 Basanite
NMNH 116600-55 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-56 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-57 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-58 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-59 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-6 Basanite
NMNH 116600-60 Basalt
NMNH 116600-61 Hawaiite
NMNH 116600-62 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-63 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-64 Unidentified
NMNH 116600-7 Basanite
NMNH 116600-8 Alkali basalt
NMNH 116600-9 Hawaiite
NMNH 116610-24 Lherzolite
NMNH 116610-25 Xenolithic
NMNH 116610-26 Lherzolite
NMNH 116610-27 Lherzolite
NMNH 116610-28 Dunite
NMNH 116610-29 Xenolithic
NMNH 116610-3 Spinel peridotite
NMNH 116857-14 Spinel lherzolite
NMNH 117213-38 Clinopyroxene
NMNH 117214-40 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-42 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-43 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-44 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-45 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-46 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-47 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-48 Xenolithic
NMNH 117214-49 Xenolithic
NMNH 117588-1 Basalt
NMNH 117588-15 Basalt
NMNH 117588-16 Basalt
NMNH 117588-17 Scoria
NMNH 117588-18 Basalt
NMNH 117588-19 Sand
NMNH 117588-2 Basalt
NMNH 117588-20 Sand
NMNH 117588-21 Scoria
NMNH 117588-22 Basalt
NMNH 117588-23 Basalt
NMNH 117588-3 Basalt
NMNH 117588-4 Basalt
NMNH 117588-5 Plagioclase
NMNH 117588-6 Clinopyroxene
NMNH 117633-1 Basalt
NMNH 117633-2 Basalt
NMNH 117633-3 Basalt
NMNH 117633-4 Basalt

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of San Quintin 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.