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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Craters of the Moon - Part 2

Continuing from the earlier post, in the post lunch session we took a conducted tour of the "Craters of the Moon" with a Park Ranger as a guide. Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. To enter we required permits which were being issued at the Rest Rooms stop. The tall lanky young and pretty park ranger told us that we would require flashlights to see inside the caves. She was well informed and communicated fluently and impressively thus making the tour a pleasurable experience.
 The Lava fields here formed between 15000-20000 years ago. Different types of lava flows can be seen here:Some having a rough, jagged, or clinkery surface called áa lava.,while others have a smooth, ropy, or billowy surface called pahoehoe lava. The stark appearance initially gives an impression of lifelessness. But this is also home to a rich diversity of life with more than 600 plant and 250 animal species.
 Many animals found here are nocturnal like : woodrats (also called packrats), skunks, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, bats, nighthawks, owls, and most other small desert rodents.  Crepuscular animals( those that are active at dawn & dusk) also found here include mule deer, coyotes, porcupines, mountain cottontails, jackrabbits, and many songbirds. And diurnal animals like: ground squirrels, marmots, chipmunks, lizards, snakes, hawks, and eagles. Of course we did not see a single animal during our tour !
Caves:There are 3 main types of caves found here: lava tubes, fissure caves and differential weathering caves.The vast majority of caves found within the Monument are lava tubes. They formed when the cooling exterior of an active lava flow insulated the molten river within allowing it to continue to flow. In this way lava sometimes flowed for many miles underground until the source was cut off or diverted leaving behind an empty space or “cave.” Indian tunnel (shown in photos) is an excellent example of a lava tube cave.
The Shoshone Tribes made use of the lava caves for shelter and as a source of water during their travel through the Lava fields.

Please enjoy the tour and pictures:
The Forest Ranger and Mira

The rough jagged clinkery surface of 'aa' lava
Fissures in the rock allowing for water retention & shade to support life systems
Plant Life in the aa lava region - above & below
Close up of desert plant
Small Cave provides shelter for small mammals
Larger Caves
Even bigger caves
The Indian Tunnel - one of the largest caves here - a fine example of a Lava Tube
The tour group descending into the Indian tunnel
Formations on the cave roof - above and below
Looking up skyward from the labyrynths of the cave
Exited from the tunnel and back on track !
 Smooth, ropy, or billowy surface called pahoehoe lava

44 comments:

  1. It seems whiter and rockier than the lava fields in Hawaii. Maybe, it's because the lava is newer in Hawaii, since the volcano has been erupting for decades now. The most famous lava tube that tourists flock to in Hawaii is called the Thurston Lava Tube. It is quite beautiful. When you walk through it, it is very dark, and when you exit the tube, there are beautiful green ferns and trees right outside.

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    1. Gigi: Thanks for the information. Good to note that there are active volcanoes in Hawaii ? Have you actually seen one spewing out lava :) LOL

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  2. Wonderful shots with interesting information. Very unique place.

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  3. Compile your reportage with some fantastic writing and pictures, you can bring out a travelogue.

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    1. Thanks for the appreciative suggestion. I am just an ordinary run of the mill amateur blogger taking pictures with an ordinary feature starved automatic camera :)

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  4. These are educational photos. Beautiful in their different formations. :)

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    1. Thanks. Yes the formations are unique and captivating.

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  5. Beautiful holiday you are having, nice.

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    1. Thanks Bob. We are indeed having good times !

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  6. Ah! Devastated land and the lava tubes! Reminds me of many places!

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  7. That's a very informative post on this fascinating place. You describe it very well and your pictures are great.

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  8. This landscape looks quite spectacular and you've shown us an amazing sequence of images.I imagine one would have to know the area very well to be able to locate animal life.......and indeed plant life!

    Ruby

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    1. Thanks Ruby. Incidentally I have problems commenting on your posts. I cannot find the comments box. Can you please check this out. Thanks. Ram

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  9. Wonderful shots with interesting information. Very unique place.

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  10. Definitely moonscapes. Nice captures. Would love to visit this place.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. This is a an amazing place. A must see if you are in Idaho.

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  11. It is an amazing landscape! Lovely pictures and something quite different.

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  12. Beautiful photos from this fascinating place.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Mette

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  13. I could appreciate the formations in that region through your beautiful photographs.

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  14. The nature is replete with astounding wonders! Lovely pictures :)

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    1. Yes Rahul Ji. Nature has such amazing beauty to offer - if only you pack your bags and travelcan you witness these spectacular wonders.

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  15. its such a nice blog to provides info
    hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
    for more plz visit

    post your business free
    business directory lucknow
    local listing lucknow

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    1. Thanks James for the intense interest with which you are reading my posts.

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  16. now that is absolutely amazing!! the energy must be so strong there :))

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    1. Hi Maryam
      I am sure volcanic fields do have strong magnetic pull and hence creating tremendous energy. Hope you had a fabulous week end. Ram

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  17. Truly fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing, I enjoyed both Part I and Part II.

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  18. Very informative post and great shots.

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  19. What a fine series of photographs. I've lived in the west and traveled throughout the area, but missed all this lava! Amazing. I guess I'll have to put this on my bucket list which is getting very long and my time is getting very short! :-)

    Re your question on The Villages: Yes, those lights are used for lighting at night.

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    1. Thanks Lowell. My queation actually was : Are these solar lamps?

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  20. It really looks like the moon surface - how i imagine it to be! Hope your fall is more fun now, and depressing weather is getting better - or at least the mood does! have a fab midweek!

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    1. Thanks Martina. Weather is already better today and the mood is exuberant :)

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  21. Oh wow, those are some beautiful pictures and that desert plant shows life can live in the remotest places .. nature is wonderful


    Bikram's

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    1. Thanks Bikram. Nature has most amazing views to offer. Only we need to find time to explore nature's wonders.

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