Craters of the Moon and Fossil Butte


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June 27th 2015
Published: June 28th 2015
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Craters of the MoonCraters of the MoonCraters of the Moon

Dwarf buckwheat plant growing in the lava
Saturday, 27 June, 2015



We left the campground this morning and drove to Craters of the Moon National Monument, about 20 miles from Arco, ID. It is comprised of 750,000 acres of lava. Lava in the form of cinder cones, lava tubes, lava caves, spatter cones, and both smooth flowing (pahoehoe) and rubble-like ('a'a) lava. The area started having eruptions about 15,000 years ago, the latest being about 2,000 years ago. This was not the result of one or two volcanoes, but a series of deep fissures known as the Great Rift. Scientists do think more eruptions are likely. The plants growing from the lava gives the area an other-worldly look.



We then drove across southeast Idaho through Blackfoot and Pocatello to southwest Wyoming. We drove through some beautiful valleys green with fields of wheat, hay, alfalfa, potatoes (of course) and even corn. Most were irrigated in this dry climate.



Near Kemmerer, WY, we stopped at Fossil Butte National Monument. This area was a great fresh water lake about 52 million years ago. There have been found there some of the most perfectly preserved remains of plants and animals. We saw fossils of fish, turtles, crocodiles, insects and plants, as well as some mammals. Some of the fish fossils clearly show skeletons, teeth, scales and skin. What an amazing place.



By the way, yesterday I posted that we saw the east side of the Grand Tetons from Idaho. That's wrong. It was the west side.



More later...


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Craters of the MoonCraters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon

Pahoehoe lava (smooth flowing)
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Craters of the Moon

Lava everywhere
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Craters of the Moon

spatter cones
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Craters of the Moon

Rubble-like lava ('a'a)
Idaho Potato FieldIdaho Potato Field
Idaho Potato Field

I almost forgot to get this picture
Fossil ButteFossil Butte
Fossil Butte

Visitor Center
Fossil ButteFossil Butte
Fossil Butte

Steep trail up butte


28th June 2015

Craters
We lived in Idaho for two years - could see the west side of Grant Teton from our front yard. Love your photos which bring back memories of the hauntingly eerie Craters of the Moon! Thanks for the post.

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