built the cinder cone and covered the area with ash. About 25% erupted as lava flows.
There are many stories about how Sunset Crater got its name, but the rumor is that John Wesley Powell first coined the term as the red and yellow cinders, formed by oxidized iron and sulfur, along the summit of the mountain reminded him of a sunset. In 1887 Powell was visiting the area, and is said to have originally named it "Sunset Peak."
Sunset Crater is federally protected and is a National Monument. During the late 1920s, a Hollywood film company announced plans to detonate large quantities of explosives inside the mountain in order to simulate an eruption for a movie, which would have effectively destroyed it. Public outcry over the plan eventually found its way to the White House, and President Herbert Hoover proclaimed it a national monument in 1930.
Sunset Crater National Monument now has a visitor center and museum, and a hiking trail with a self-guided tour that leads below the slopes of Sunset Crater, and skirts the Bonita Lava Flow, giving visitors a close-up view of the twisted and jagged lava field. Another point of interest along the trail is an ice cave, formed in an old lava tube, which contains ice all year long. The old trail which once led to the summit of Sunset Crater was closed in 1973 due to the damage caused by hikers.
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