Road Trip Report #2, Craters of the Moon
Our next landing was a National Monument called Craters of the Moon. Talk about terrific. (I am in this photo, sort of):
Craters is basically a huge flood plain of lava that poured out of a rift in the Earth.
The Monument and Preserve encompass three major lava fields and about 400 square miles (1,036 km2) of sagebrush steppe grasslands to cover a total area of 1,117 square miles (2,893 km2). All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho, with some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet (240 m). There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes (a type of cave), and many other volcanic features.
Lava tubes turned out to be unbelievably beautiful. Basically they were vast rivers of lava of which the top cooled down and left a liquid tube underneath, like a river frozen over. Then when the lava flow ceased, an enormous empty tube was left. Here is a picture of Juniper sitting on a pile of rubble that once was the ceiling of the tube we were in. Considering that the ceiling can fall, I found it humorous to think that she was in the safest place in the cave.
We explored numerous tubes while we were there. Some were totally dark and narrow. Some even had ice in them year round because volcanic rock is an excellent insulator.
All in all, this is a spectacular place to visit if you are ever in Idaho. The camp ground is pretty good. The preserve is just astounding. Well worth the time.
Posted: September 16th, 2010 under Uncategorized.