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The Ubehebe Craters consist of an isolated group of overlapping maars formed during eruptions of alkali basalt along a fault cutting fanglomerate deposits on the flanks of Tin Mountain in Death Valley National Park. Ubehebe Crater is a 0.8-km-wide, 235-m-deep maar surrounded by a tuff ring. Little Hebe Crater, the second youngest vent, is located immediately south of Ubehebe Crater and is a small tuff cone with a 100-m-wide crater overlain by pyroclastic-surge deposits. At least a dozen craters are located within an area of 3 sq km, and bedded pyroclastic-surge deposits cover an area of 15 sq km. Early scoria cone formation was followed by hydrovolcanic explosions that formed two clusters of explosion craters and tuff rings. The age of volcanism at Ubehebe is not dated precisely, but the lack of erosional modification of pyroclastic-surge deposits suggests that the youngest activity, from the largest crater, Ubehebe Crater, is Holocene in age. Relationships between Ubehebe tephra and approximately dated archeological artifacts suggests an age of about 6000 years.
Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).
|Start Date||Stop Date||Eruption Certainty||VEI||Evidence||Activity Area or Unit|
|4050 BCE (?)||Unknown||Confirmed||Anthropology|
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|
|Ubehebe craters are an isolated group of maar volcanoes erupted through nonvolcanic sediments of Death Valley National Park. The craters were formed by hydrovolcanic explosions along a fault. The contact between pre-eruption yellowish- and orange-colored sedimentary rocks and overlying black ash deposits from an early stage scoria cone can be seen at the upper part of the western wall of 800-m wide, 235-m deep Ubehebe crater, the youngest and largest crater.
Photo by Lee Siebert, 1974 (Smithsonian Institution).
|Bedded pyroclastic-surge deposits from the eruptions forming Ubehebe craters can be seen in this gully south of Little Ubehebe crater. The eruption formed two clusters of explosion craters and tuff rings along a N-S line.
Photo by Lee Siebert (Smithsonian Institution).
|Erosional gullies furrow the surface of pyroclastic-surge deposits from the eruptions forming Ubehebe craters in Death Valley, California. The craters were erupted along a fault that forms the western boundary of the Tin Mountain range in the left background.
Photo by Lee Siebert (Smithsonian Institution).
|Darker-colored layers of basaltic ash drape the northern rim of Ubehebe Crater in the northern part of Death Valley National Park and spill down the crater walls. The 235-m-deep Ubehebe Crater is the largest of a series of more than a dozen overlapping maars formed by explosive eruptions through fanglomerate deposits, which form the light-colored areas below the ash layers. The Amargosa Range rises on the horizon across Death Valley to the east.
Photo by Paul Kimberly, 1997 (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.
Cagnoli B, Russell J K, 2000. Imaging the subsurface stratigraphy in the Ubehebe hydrovolcanic field (Death Valley, California) using ground penetrating radar. J Volc Geotherm Res, 96: 45-56.
Cagnoli B, Ulrych T J, 2001. Ground penetrating radar images of unexposed climbing dune-forms in the Ubehebe hydrovolcanic field (Death Valley, California). J Volc Geotherm Res, 109: 279-298.
Chesterman C W, 1971. Volcanism in California. Calif Geol, 24: 139-147.
Crowe B M, Fisher R V, 1973. Sedimentary structures in base-surge deposits with special reference to cross-bedding, Ubehebe Craters, Death Valley, California. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 84: 663-682.
Miller C D, 1989. Potential hazards from future volcanic eruptions in California. U S Geol Surv Bull, 1847: 1-17.
Sharp R P, Glazner A F, 1997. Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press, 321 p.
Smith R L, Shaw H R, 1975. Igneous-related geothermal systems. U S Geol Surv Circ, 726: 58-83.
Wood C A, Kienle J (eds), 1990. Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ Press, 354 p.