The Springerville Volcanic Field is the third largest young volcanic field in the continental United States. The field was created during the late Pliocene to Pleistocene age. The earliest eruption was nearly 3 million years ago. The flow is known because of its size and volume. Springerville field contains 405 vents and covers 1,158 square miles, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The field is also famous for being the opening setting of one of Edgar Rice Burroughs books John Carter on Mars in 1935.
Springerville Vocanic Field can be seen by a self guided tour outside of Springerville. In order to complete the tour, directions must be followed using odometer readings. The tour begins about 3 miles northwest of Springerville. Take Interstate 60 north to Interstate 180 and head about 6 miles up the Interstate to Hall Ranch Road. Here you should set your odometer to zero. At this point, you will see several flows from the “Twin Knolls” vent.
The next stop is heading back south on Interstate 180, till the odometer reaches 2.9. Here you will see remains of a vent and to the east Coyote Hills is a shield volcano. A shield volcano is formed by many lava flows that have gradually build up to a large volcano. When viewing this from above it looks like a Roman shield.
Then travel south again to U.S. 60, approximately 3 miles. Turn west onto U.S. 60, approximately 8 miles. When the odometer reads 14.0 miles pull off the road. Here you will see a sag flowout. The view is from the middle of the bowl.
Continue west on U.S. 60 until Green’s Peak Road. The odometer should read 18.0 and travel down the FS-117 to FS-61. The odometer should read 31.2 and turn right. Head west on FS-61, less than a mile. Then turn right and go north up to Green’s Peak to the lookout tower. The odometer should read 33.0 miles. At this advantage point, the view provides a great look at the Springerville Field. This is the end of the self guided tour. At this time you need to retrace your path back home.