Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park last erupted over the course of three years starting in 1914.  In 1916, Congress declared it a national park. The recovery of Lassen's landscape and habitat serves as a nearly century-long example of how Mount St. Helens can recover from its 1980 eruptions, and these two volcanos remind us of the other volcanos that dot our Pacific Northwest Cascade Range, namely Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Shasta, and Baker.

Lassen formed 27,000 years ago as a volcano vent on the northern slope of Brokeoff Volcano and is the world's largest plug dome volcano, rising 2000 feet to an altitude of 10,457. Unfortunately, the signature hike to its peak was closed this year for trail reconstruction.

There are four types of volcanos, and Lassen Volcanic National Park contains  all four types, specifically shield (Prospect Peak), cinder cone (Cinder Cone), composite (Brokeoff), and plug dome (Lassen).

My favorite place was the three mile hike to Bumpass Hell, the largest of the three geothermal areas in the park at 16 acres. It easily reminds you of Yellowstone on a smaller scale with boiling pools, mud pots, and fumeroles.  It is named for the local resident/cowboy who led tours here in the 1860s, and who after warning his clients how dangerous the area is, promptly broke through a thin crust into a scalding mud pot, severely burning his leg.  The story has it that he then took a local newspaper editor to see where he had been hurt, broke through again, and this time required amputation of the leg.

This area is other-worldly! You are assaulted by strong sulfuric smell and the sight of acres of colorful boiling mudpots as well as soil and rocks stained orange and green and yellow by the minerals, all accompanied by aquamarine water. Magnificent scenery!


Cynthia Williams said...

These beautiful, and wonderful places that I wish I could see in person, but happy to see pictures of, thanks for the pictures.

vabna islam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.