Steamboat Springs

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  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 39.375°N
  • 119.72°W

  • 1415 m
    4641 ft

  • 326801
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
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The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Steamboat Springs.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Steamboat Springs.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Steamboat Springs.

A small volcanic field of rhyolitic lava domes and flows about 20 km south of Reno, Nevada, ranges in age from 2.53 to 1.14 million years. No eruptive activity has occurred at Steamboat Springs during the Holocene, although it was included in the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Coombs and Howard 1960) based on its geothermal activity. The Steamboat Springs area is dotted with about 50 active hot springs, numerous steam vents, and fumaroles, and is an actively producing geothermal field.

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

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Steamboat Springs.

The light-colored area at the left-center is the Main Terrace, which formed along the principal fissure of the Steamboat Springs geothermal field. The N-S-trending fissure deposited siliceous sinter from hot waters that issued from surface faults and traveled down slope towards U.S. Highway 395, which cuts diagonally across the bottom of the photo. The linear structure at the right-center is the power generating plant of the geothermal field. Out of view below the trees at the lower left is the Steamboat Resort, which dates back to the 1860s.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Steam rises from a geothermal well at the top of a lava-dome complex of the Steamboat Hills geothermal field in west-central Nevada south of Reno. U.S. Highway 395 traverses the valley beyond the trees in the foreground. This is the site of the Steamboat Resort, which dates back to the 1860s, when it was frequented by miners working on the nearby renowned Comstock Lode. The Carson Range forms the ridge on the horizon.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Steamboat Hills in the center of the photo is an area of geothermal development in the Steamboat Springs volcanic field of western Nevada. The small light spot just right of the summit of the central hill is a steam plume from a geothermal well. Steamboat Springs lies in a structural trough in the eastern Sierra Nevada between the Virginia Range on the east and the western Carson Range in the background of the photo.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution)
Extensive areas of hydrothermally altered rock occur at Steamboat Springs, a small volcanic field of rhyolitic lava domes and flows south of Reno, Nevada. Volcanism ranges in age from 2.53 to 1.14 million years. No eruptive activity has occurred during the Holocene, although the Steamboat Springs area contains about 50 active hot springs, numerous steam vents and fumaroles, and is an actively producing geothermal field.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1976 (Michigan Technological University).
A now-inactive fissure cuts the surface of a sinter mound at Steamboat Springs in Nevada. Steam from a hot springs rises at the upper left. Steamboat Springs, an area of active geothermal development, currently displays hot springs, a large number of steam vents and fumaroles structurally related to regional faults. The area once contained about 20 small geysers, but none are currently active.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The elongated structure in the center of the photo is a power generating plant of the Steamboat Springs geothermal field. The plant is easily visible from U.S. Highway 395 and Nevada 341 south of Reno. Exploratory wells were drilled as early as the 1950s and 1960s, but the first successful well was drilled in 1979.

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.

Coombs H A, Howard A D, 1960. United States of America. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 9: 1-68.

White D E, Thompson G A, Sandberg C H, 1964. Rocks structure and geologic history of Steamboat Spring thermal area Washoe County Nevada. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 458-B: 1-62.

Wood C A, Kienle J (eds), 1990. Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ Press, 354 p.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Steamboat Springs 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.