Welcome to Craters of the Moon National Monument
The monument is a geologic wonder cast in a wild and remote landscape. Its central focus is the Great Rift, a 62-mile long crack in the earth's crust. The Great Rift is the source of a remarkably preserved volcanic landscape with an array of exceptional features. Craters, cinder cones, lava tubes, deep cracks, and vast lava fields form a strangely beautiful volcanic sea on central Idaho's Snake River Plain.
Volcanic eruptions first occurred at Craters of the Moon about 15,000 years ago. The most recent eruptions ended about 2,100 years ago and were likely witnessed by the Shoshone people. A Shoshone legend speaks of a serpent on a mountain who, angered by lightening, coiled around and squeezed the mountain until liquid rock flowed, fire shot from cracks, and the mountain exploded.
The volcanic area now lies dormant, but its eight eruptive periods formed 60 lava flows which traveled as far as 45 miles from their vents. Some of the lava flowed around areas of higher ground, forming isolated islands of vegetation called "kipukas". Today, these kipukas provide a window on the vegetation communities of the past. They contain some of the last pristine vegetation in the Snake River Plain, including 700-year-old juniper trees and relic stands of sagebrush and native bunchgrass.Spatter Cones ............Silent Cone - Life proliferates as the rock breaks down in older cones and flowsBroken slabs of lava flows.......North Crater Lava FlowLava Cascades and a lone, determined plantLife gains roots near Inferno Cone. As volcanic rock breaks down, it is rich in plant nutrients.Springtime brings hardy life to a dead landscape. Rippled Lava FlowsRippled Lava Flow......................Lichens grow on lava rock where nothing else will grow. Life is tenacious.North Crater Lava FlowNorth Crater Trail....Hikimg Trail through an infernal landscapeDew Drop Cave........................Inferno Cone - SideviewInferno Cone...........Over the millenia life struggled for a foothold in a dead landscape. Monument to Struggle for Life- a dead treeThe Devil's OrchardEntrance to Indian Tunnel - Lava TubeIndian tunnel skylightIndian Tunnel hiking Wildflowers in cinders............
It has maps and info on cool adventures to check out this summer! http://www.avalancheweekends.msn.com/default.aspx?page=weekend&article=11&source=email
Awesome remnants of volcanic activity in the past
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Labels: volcanoes-national park/monument