Above is this weeks free desktop. Well, in the past few months I've had the opportunity to introduce a couple of new places here, and this week features the first shot from another "first timer", Lava Beds National Monument. Located about 10 miles south of Tulelake, CA this very rugged landscape is a testament to it's volcanic past. Geologically, Lava Beds is a real wonder as it contains the largest concentration of lava tube caves in the US while it also featuring many of the formations associated with volcanic regions, namely cinder cones, spatter cones, fumaroles, maar volcanos, lava flows and lava tube caves. The feature which attracts most visitors would be the lava tubes which were formed in the lava flows during the volcanic eruptions. How? As the outer surfaces of the flows cooled, the inner sections remained hot and flowing forming tunnels of lava. When the eruptions ceased, the lava drained from the tunnels leaving the tube caves. Lava Beds also has a historic significance as this is the site of the Modac War of 1872-1873, where the Modac Indians used the land as a natural fortress against the US Army. Now for this weeks shot, it was taken while I was hiking up to the fire lookout on Schonchin Butte. From the top at the lookout, you have a great 360 degree view of the area (yes, one from the top is to be featured later (: ). This is looking NW with the features to note being a finger of the Schonchin Flow (those dark rocks in the foreground) and a crater which I could not find the name of. If you look over the left edge of the no name crater and you can make out the the dark, black lip of Black Crater. To the right from Black Crater, one can just make out the small flow extending from it (the dark sliver) and staying on the same plane, further right is the Ross Flow (a little bigger dark sliver). Moving further out from the Ross Flow is a much larger dark section which extends back to the left almost to the egde of the photo. This is the Devils Homestead Flow. Lastly, that elevated ground just past the lava flow is Gillem Bluff. With many trails to walk, and the chance to explore the many different lava tubes, this is one well worth a visit.
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