Idaho’s rugged sea of basalt
A rugged sea of over 60 different basaltic lava flows stretches over the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho. Also known as Craters of the Moon, the lava plain formed between 15,000 and 2000 years ago during 8 eruptive phases. In between these phases quiet periods could last up to 3000 years. Nowadays you can see rivers of lava, ropy & blocky pahoehoe lava flows, deep cracks, cinder & spatters cones and a labyrinth of lava tube tunnels under the surface. During an eruption basalt would flow around higher outcrops also known as kipukas. Some of these contain 700-year old juniper trees and braches of sagebrush giving them the appearance of an isolated island. Precipitation is lost in the deep cracks of the basalt and oozes out at the nearby Snake River Canyon.