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PINACATE ELEGANTE

ELEGANTE CRATER, PINACATE

El Elegante is the largest crater in the Pinacate volcanic field, 1,400 metres wide and 140 metres deep. The crater was formed by a violent volcanic eruption when rising magma encountered groundwater, producing highly pressurized steam. This caused large rocks to be projected onto the surrounding land, and smaller fragments (cinder) to be dispersed widely over what is now the current desert floor.

After its eruption, the volcanic cone collapsed back into the earth, leading to the formation of a crater. Signs of this collapse can be seen around the crater rim, where the rock layers are stepped (see images below).


Part of El Elegante crater, seen from the crater rim. Creosote bushes and other plants are seen in the foreground.


Part of El Elegante crater showing stepped layers where the rocks have slipped back into the volcanic core. The lowest part of the crater is seen at the extreme bottom left of this image (green and white area, coloured by salt deposits and salt-tolerant plants). The rock outcrop (extreme right) is part of the core of an earlier volcano.


Close up view of rock layers at the crater rim. The banding pattern represents successive lava flows over geological time, before the latest eruption caused the cone tp collapse. Between the lava old layers (basalt) are bands of "tuff" (compacted red-coloured volcanic ash).

GO TO:
Pinacate Thumbnail images?
Pinacate Volcanic Field: space radar image?
El Elegante crater?
Elegante crater rim?
"Bombs and cinders"?
Colorado crater?
Lava fields?
Pinacate desert floor?
Pinacate campsite?
Pinacate plants?
Pinacate playa?
Lava plants?
Pinacate desert wash?

This site is no longer maintained and has been left for archival purposes

Text and links may be out of date