Out of the many types of volcanoes, cinder cones are the most basic. Unfamiliar with the term “cinder cones”? Perhaps you’ve heard of their other names- ash, scoria, spatter, or even pyroclastic cones. These names correlate to the volcano’s formation in which ash and cinders fall and collect around the vent of a basaltic or andesitic eruption. The cinders themselves, or scoria, are glassy rock fragments with many gas bubbles embedded into the rock as magma bursts into the atmosphere and cools rapidly. Cinder cone volcanoes tend to be roughly circular and steep and have a cone-like appearance. The angle of the sides can be as steep as 30°. Cinder cones also have a “bowl-shaped crater”* at the top, where the lava erupts from. They range in height from hundreds of feet high to hundreds of meters high. However, you usually will see them grow below 1,000 ft over the mountains and landforms in the volcano’s vicinity. Most cinder cones are found throughout western North America and other volcanic terrains. They usually appear along the sides of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. In fact, there are about 100 of them along the sides of Mauna Kea, a shield volcano on the Island of Hawaii. Although, you will occasionally find some separate ones formed on basaltic lava fields. A majority of cinder cones are monogenetic, meaning they only have one eruption. Because they only erupt once, they tend to have a shorter lifespan. They also develop rather quickly than other volcanoes. Paricutín, a volcano in Mexico, is a prime example of a “fast-growing”** cinder cone. The cinder cone is amongst 1,400 other small volcanoes in the Michoacan-Guanajuato volcanic field. It was one of Earth’s youngest volcanoes and the first volcano to have its entire lifespan recorded. On February 20, 1943 rock and ash began to gush from a crack in the ground of a cornfield. After a week, the ash and cinders constructed a crater with a height of over 300 feet. Within a year, the cone was over 1,000 feet. Paricutín continued to erupt and grow from 1943 to 1952. It eventually reached a peak 424 meters with an area of about 100 square miles. The volcano is now recognized as extinct. In plain sight, cinder cones are rapidly developing volcanoes made of ash and cinder commonly found alongside other volcanoes and in volcanic fields. As mentioned in the name, cinder cones have a cone-like appearance and are generally steep, growing from a range of various heights. Being monogenetic, they have a shorter lifespan than other volcanoes that take longer to develop. Because of their simple structure, they give a basic introduction of a volcano and open you up to understanding larger and more complicated volcanoes. Cinder cones also allow you to understand effects of basic volcanic interactions.