Cinder cones are mounds of basaltic scoria that forms by streaming gases that carry lava blobs and ribbons into the atmosphere to form lava fountains. The lava blobs commonly solidify during flight through the air before landing on the ground. If gas pressure drops, the final stage of building a cinder cone may be a lava flow that breaks through the base of the cone. If there is abundant water in the environment, magma interacts with water to build a maar volcano rather than a cinder cone. The longer the eruption the higher the cone. Some are no larger than a few meters and others rise to as high as 610 meters or more, such as Paricutin volcano, Mexico that was in nearly continuous eruption from 1943 to 1952. Accompanying the pyroclastic activity were lava flows that emerged from its base to destroy the village of Paricutin. Cinder cones can occur alone but commonly occur in groups or fields.

Cinder cone at Little Lake, California.

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