About 7,000 years ago, a dozen or so lava flows and cinder cones erupted from fissures on the flanks of Newberry Volcano. An excellent example is Lava Butte, a 500-foot-high cinder cone south of Bend along Highway 97. A road spirals to the top providing a grand vista of volcanic country. Here, gas-charged molten rock sprayed volcanic foam (cinders) into the air. These fell back into a pile to form Lava Butte. As the eruption proceded, the amount of gas (mostly water vapor) contained in the molten rock decreased and lava poured out the south side of Lava Butte and flowed 6 miles downhill. The lava spilled into the nearby Deschutes River forming lava dams in some places and shoving the river westward out of its channel in others.
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