Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon is a concentrated area that displays the full range of volcanic events, with which you all are probably more familiar with now than you might care to be. But you’re still going to get pictures of this stuff because it’s awesome. There is a loop road with many short hikes that allow you to see just about everything. In addition, the Craters of the Moon has recent examples of Pahoehoe lava – the ropy kind that looks spilled – that are iridescent blue in sunlight!

Pahoehoe in North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Pahoehoe in North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Closeup of Pahoehoe in North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Closeup of Pahoehoe in North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Awesome solidified lava patterns, North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho.  Note that the reddish color is from oxidation.

Awesome solidified lava patterns, North Crater Lava Flow, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho. Note that the reddish color is from oxidation.

I climbed another cinder cone, but this one was basaltic, so pure black:

Inferno Cone, a basaltic cinder cone, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Inferno Cone, a basaltic cinder cone, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

I was able to climb up two spatter cones – buildup of less powerful ejections of lava around a vent – and look inside as well. The monument has examples of lava caves too, but on a much smaller scale than Mount St. Helens or Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Boy Scout Cave, which measures no more than a hundred feet or so, is known for ice on the floor year round. The largest, Indian Tunnel, is about 800 feet long and has multiple skylights from collapses of portions of the lava

Indian Tunnel lava tube, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Indian Tunnel lava tube, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Access to these caves is via a trail over another lava field broken by fissures. The day I was there, the weather was perfect and the blue sky and cumulus cloud made for a gorgeous walk.

Breathtaking sky over a lava field with Sunset Cone in the background, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Breathtaking sky over a lava field with Sunset Cone in the background, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

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