Inyo Craters

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 37.692°N
  • 119.02°W

  • 2629 m
    8623 ft

  • 323130
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Inyo Craters.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Inyo Craters.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Inyo Craters.

The Inyo Craters are a 12-km-long chain of silicic lava domes, lava flows, and explosion craters along the eastern margin of Sierra Nevada south of Mono Craters near the town of Mammoth. Inyo Craters overtop the NW rim of the Pleistocene Long Valley caldera and extend onto the caldera floor, but are chemically and magmatically part of a different volcanic system. Postglacial explosion pits of Mammoth Mountain to the south are an extension of Inyo Craters (Bailey 1980). The latest eruptions at Inyo Craters took place about 600 years ago, when explosive eruptions accompanied formation of the South Deadman, Obsidian Flow, and Glass Creek rhyolitic lava domes and lava flows. The Inyo Crater Lakes are small phreatic craters that formed during this eruption on the south flank of the Pleistocene Deer Mountain rhyolite dome of the Long Valley caldera.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1380 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) S Deadman, Obsidian Flow, Glass Creek
0290 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) Wilson Butte
4050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Hydration Rind North of Deadman Creek

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.


Domes

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Deadman Creek Dome 2570 m 37° 43' 0" N 119° 1' 0" W
Glass Creek Dome 2629 m 37° 45' 0" N 119° 1' 0" W
North Deadman Creek Dome 2549 m 37° 43' 0" N 119° 1' 0" W
Obsidian Dome 2622 m 37° 45' 0" N 119° 1' 0" W
Wilson Butte Dome 2587 m 37° 47' 0" N 119° 1' 0" W
The Mono Craters volcanic field south of Mono Lake at the upper left, is a 17-km-long arcuate chain of rhyolitic lava domes and thick, viscous lava flows. Mono Craters has been frequently active throughout the Holocene, along with the Inyo Craters chain to the south. The Inyo Craters chain, which includes the Wilson Butte, Obsidian and Glass Creek domes, which are oriented diagonally along a N-S line from the left center to lower right of the photo. The latest eruptions of Mono Craters and Inyo Craters occurred nearly simultaneously around 600 years ago.

Photo by Roy Bailey, 1980 (U.S. Geological Survey).
An aerial view from the south shows the North and South Inyo Craters phreatic explosion craters diagonally cutting forested Deer Mountain from the right center to lower right, and the unvegetated South Deadman lava dome and obsidian flow and the forested mound of North Deadman dome at the upper left. Eruption of magmatic tephra and the formation of the phreatic explosion craters preceded emplacement of the lava domes and flows about 600 years ago.

Photo by Larry Mastin, 1988 (U.S. Geological Survey).
The Obsidian Flow, a lava flow with a hackly surface showing prominent flow banding, was erupted at the northern end of a chain of lava domes and flows during a dike-fed eruption about 600 years ago at Inyo Craters. The Obsidian Flow was the largest of four flows and domes emplaced during this eruption.

Photo by Larry Mastin, 1992 (U.S. Geological Survey).
South Inyo Crater, one of a chain of small phreatic explosion craters at the southern end of the Inyo Craters chain of lava domes and flows, is partially filled by a shallow lake. The 200-m-wide South Inyo Crater was formed when groundwater interacted with magma from a shallow dike. That interaction fed a powerful explosive eruption that concluded with the emplacement of obsidian lava domes and flows to the north of this crater.

Photo by Larry Mastin, 1992 (U.S. Geological Survey).
The pumice layers above the bottom of the pen originated from the South Deadman vent of Inyo Craters about 600 years ago. Interbedded finer layers record brief pauses during the course of the eruption.

Photo by Larry Mastin, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
The unvegetated Glass Creek lava flow on the left and Obsidian Flow on the right are among a group of obsidian lava flows and domes that were emplaced during a major eruption from the Inyo Craters about 600 years ago. The eruption, originating from a shallow dike, began with powerful explosive activity, pyroclastic flows, and a series of phreatic explosions, and ended with effusion of the lava domes and flows.

Photo by Larry Mastin, 1991 (U.S. Geological Survey).
Wilson Butte, the northermost lava dome of the Inyo Craters, is seen from the Obsidian Flow lava dome to the south. The Inyo Craters are a 12-km-long chain of silicic lava domes, lava flows, and explosion craters along the eastern margin of Sierra Nevada south of Mono Craters near the town of Mammoth. Inyo Craters overtop the NW rim of the Pleistocene Long Valley caldera and extend onto the caldera floor, but are chemically and magmatically part of a different volcanic system. The latest eruptions at Inyo Craters took place about 600 years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Bailey R A, 1980. . (pers. comm.).

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.

Bateman P C, Wahrhaftig C, 1966. Geology of the Sierra Nevada. Calif Div Mines Geol Bull, 190: 107-172.

Bursik M, Reid J, 2004. Lahar in Glass Creek and Owens River during the Inyo eruption, Mono-Inyo Craters, California. J Volc Geotherm Res, 131: 321-331.

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.

Huber N K, Rinehart C D, 1967. Cenozoic volcanic rocks of the Devils Postpile quadrangle, eastern Sierra Nevada California. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 554-D: 1-21.

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

Rinehart C D, Ross D C, 1964. Geology and mineral deposits of the Mount Morrison quadrangle Sierra Nevada, California. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 385: 1-106.

Sampson D E, Cameron K L, 1987. The geochemistry of the Inyo volcanic chain: multiple magma systems in the Long Valley region, eastern California. J Geophys Res, 92: 10,403-10,421.

Sorey M L, Evans W C, Kennedy B M, Farrar C D, Hainsworth L J, Hausback B, 1998. Carbon dioxide and helium emissions from a reservoir of magmatic gas beneath Mammoth Mountain, California. J Geophys Res, 103: 15,303-15,323.

Wood S H, 1977. Distribution, correlation, and radiocarbon dating of late Holocene tephra, Mono and Inyo Craters, eastern California. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 88: 89-95.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Explosion crater(s)

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Rhyolite
Minor
Dacite
Trachybasalt / Tephrite Basanite
Trachyandesite / Basaltic trachy-andesite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
558
7,393
9,048
82,160

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Inyo Craters 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).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.