Above is this weeks free desktop. This week features the second shot from a very interesting location, Lava Beds National Monument. Located in northern California, about 10 miles south of Tulelake, this very rugged landscape is a testament to it's violent 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 the above mentioned 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 you ask? (: 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 from the fire lookout on Schonchin Butte. You get a beautiful 360 degree view of the area from the lookout (I'd imagine that's why there's a fire lookout here, the perfect view of the area), with this being the view NW. The most notable feature here being a finger of the Schonchin Flow, those dark rocks in the foreground extending left to right across the entire photo, and a crater which I could not find the name of. If you look over the 'no name crater", moving further out, the elevated ground in shadow 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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