Cerro Prieto volcano is a small dacitic lava dome in the Cerro Prieto geothermal field at the northern end of the Gulf of California, 33 km south of Mexicali at the Mexican border or 175 km SE of San Diego.
Cerro Prieto lies in an active continental rift that is transitional between the transform San Andreas fault system to the north and a spreading ridge of the East Pacific Rise in the Gulf of California to the south. The only surficial volcanic feature at Cerro Prieto, which is located near sea level on the Colorado River delta, is a small, 223-m-high compound dacitic lava dome. A 200-m-wide crater is located at the summit of the NE-most dome. The Cerro Prieto dome was roughly estimated from paleomagnetic evidence to have formed during a series of events between 100,000 and 10,000 years ago. Cucupas Indian legends described a monster that covered the land with hot rocks, which grew through the soil and emitted fire tongues, a possible reference to the growth of the volcano.
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