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Did You Know There’s a Volcano in Colorado?

Photo Credit: Dotesro Volcano via Facebook
Photo Credit: Dotsero Volcano via Traildamage on Facebook

Colorado is full of unique, natural landmarks, but not many people know that within our state, just about a mile north of I-70, sits Colorado’s only active volcano. 

This most recent recorded eruption of the young Dotsero Volcano reportedly happened as a result of water coming into contact with the inner magma, which caused explosive force and lava flow spanning for at least four miles. Because of this, its known as a maar volcano and since it erupted within the past 10,000 years, that’s why it’s still considered to be active. Although its last eruption was well over 4,000 years ago, remnants of the cindery black and red basaltic lava can still be found on both sides of the interstate, close to Exit 133 in Dotsero, where the volcano is located. The eruption left a crater that was originally about half a mile across and 1,300 feet deep, however over time, this hole has been partly filled with sediment so is now only about 600 feet into the ground. Visitors are able to drive up to the lip of the crater, hike the area, and even comb the rim for low-grade diamonds.

While the Dotsero Volcano is technically still active and could possibly erupt again at some point, the United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program and the Global Volcanism Program do not have this volcano on either of their watch lists. Fun fact though, the magma body that sits way down below the surface inside this volcano is actually what keeps the hot springs in nearby Glenwod Springs so sizzling.

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