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Sunset Crater Still 'Extinct,' Despite Internet Rumors

National Park Service

Rumors of a steam plume coming from Sunset Crater near Flagstaff have been making a buzz on the Internet. But as Arizona Public Radio’s Melissa Sevigny reports, officials with the national monument say there’s no sign of geologic activity.

Satellite images posted on a blog sparked the rumors, but Cecilia Shields with the National Park Service says rangers have not observed any volcanic activity on the ground.

Sunset Crater is considered an extinct cinder cone that erupted 900 years ago. It was formed by an upward spray of lava that cooled and fell back to earth, forming a cone-shaped hill. Sunset Crater is part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, which geologists say will probably become active again sometime in the future.

Sunset Crater itself, however, isn’t likely to make a comeback.     

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