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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (SUCR)
|Official Sunset Crater Volcano NM Website|
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument encompasses 3032 acres (1227 ha) in north central Arizona. It was established in 1930 to protect significant geological resources of a volcanic eruption that occurred about 900 years ago. In addition to their scientific value, the volcano and associated natural resources continue to have cultural significance to contemporary native tribes.
The vegetation of Sunset Crater Volcano NM is diverse and includes nearly barren cinder beds and rock outcrops, grassy meadows, open stands of trees with sparse understory shrublands, and dense forests on more moist aspects of the highest slopes, drainages, and ridges. Ponderosa pine forests dominate deep cinder deposits and pinyon-juniper woodlands occur in the northwestern portion of the monument.
Surface water is almost non-existent within the monument and some areas, such as the Bonito Lava Flow, are so inhospitable that they likely provide little habitat for wildlife. However, unique habitats have been found within the monument that may shed light on the ecological processes that allow pioneer plants to move into harsh habitats and eventually transform them. Two amphibian, 117 avian, 29 mammalian, and 10 reptilian species have been documented in the monument.
The Southern Colorado Plateau Network is not currently monitoring in Sunset Crater Volcano NM.
Life Zones at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano NM ranges in elevation from 6,810 to 8,010 feet (2,076–2,441 m) at the top of the Sunset Crater cinder cone, and spans the Semi-Desert Grassland/Shrub Steppe, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland and Ponderosa Pine Forest life zones. The monument experiences an average annual precipitation of 16.77 inches (426 mm).
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