Craters of the Moon

Arco, Idaho

Yesterday we did some exploring around Arco. First stop was Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

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We’ve been living in Idaho over eight years, and we’ve never been to see them.

There are three major lava fields and sagebrush grasslands that encompass over 1100 square miles.

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The lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho–a line of cones and lava vents within the park.

This rift is considered to be the latest, deepest, and most recent in the continental US. Some of the rift cracks are the deepest on earth at 800 feet deep.

I won’t claim to completely understand what all that means, but I did learn lots at the visitor center. There are a series of calderas (think holes left after a volcanic eruption) that run along the Snake River Plain and on up into Yellowstone that have shaped the area and are expected to be active again within a couple hundred thousand years.

We were amazed at the diversity of the rocks and the vegetation in the park.

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This small grey plant looks pretty against the black volcanic rock.

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Many of the rocks are covered with colorful lichen.

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I’m so glad we visited the park. It’s stunningly surreal.

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