August 23, 2012

8/21/12 – Craters of the Moon NM

Right in the middle of a southern Idaho desert is a huge chunk of lavaland designated as Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.   (The pictures look a little faded because there was so much smoke in the air.  A big chunk of Idaho forests are burning right now.  Makes it really hard for George to breathe.)
Somebody thought it looked like the moon seen through a telescope. Since I’ve actually seen close-up pictures of the moon, I don’t really think that’s what it looks like. I mean, what the moon looks like. (Or whatever…)  I mean, did you ever see pictures of grass growing on the moon????
The fascinating thing about the park is the different kinds of volcanoes and lava that are in such a small area. 

There are big craters...
                         and cinder cones...

                                                          and spatter cones.

There’s sharp a’a lava that looks like crushed rock
and pahoehoe lava that looks like rope
                                                                  and lava bombs that are just big globs.
There are also lava tubes like caves--that WE didn't get to see!  The ranger wouldn’t issue us cave permits because we’d gone to other caves and we might be contaminated with white-nose syndrome, a virus that kills bats.  (It’s OK--George hardly ever fits anyway.) 
I think this stuff looks like buckled asphalt.

Even the plants that grow there are different.  This stuff is called dwarf buckwheat:
It's only about 4 inches high, but it's roots can grow out 3 feet!  That's why it spaces itself like this on the cinders.  (The yellow plant in the front is "Rubber Rabbit Brush"--try saying that out loud 3 times!  It's almost as good a tongue-twister as "Well, we're real weird!")

The higher we went, the windier it got, until it got this bad: we left.
For a few more pictures, check out this link:  Craters of the Moon NM