Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

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As the name suggests, Lassen Volcanic National Park features the landscape around an active volcano, Peak Lassen. In May 1914, Peak Lassen rumbled into life and started to blow steam into the air. Then the climax came in May 1915, a powerful eruption blasted a mushroom cloud of volcanic ashes 30,000 feet (9km) high. The great explosion created a new crater on Peak Lassen and sent hot rocks all over the places. The volcanic activities last for a total of seven years. In 1916, Lassen Volcanic National Park was timely established.

It was late May (2007) when we visited the park. We were greeted by snowbound mountain scenes that hardly remind us what this national park is known for. Peak Lassen was still mostly covered by snow.

The frozen Lake Helen looked very tempting, but the ice didn't seem to be strong enough to walk on. So we passed on.

A hike on Lassen Peak. Pity we didn't bring proper snowgear, so we stopped halfway to the peak. Shame...

In the Devastated Area, westside of Peak Lassen, we finally found scenes more suitable to the theme. This area saw the most action in the great explosion in 1915. The red-hot lava flew from the snow-covered summit and created an avalanche of snow, lava rocks, and mud flows of all kinds of volcanic debris. Remaining evidence of the devastation are these giant boulders and rocks lying here and there. They are lava rocks, many were formed in those restless days in 1915. Imagine rocks not even 100 years old - these are new-born babies. The patches on the rock in the last pic was form when hot basalt (the patch) was quenched in dacite.

Other geothermal evidence that remind us the volcano's still alive. It's not as impressive as those in Yellowstone though, so I won't elaborate.

Other sceneries - Lassen National Forest.

Crystal-clear lakes and ponds.

Meadows, brooks.

Interesting plants/fungus. In the first 3 pix the red asparagus-like bud is Snowplant (Sarcodes snaguinea). Without chlorophyll, they cannot photosynthesis but live by parasiting on neighboring plants' root or decomposing organic. In the last 2 pix, the tree fungus look awfully like a piece of bread. I picked it up and it spray its spores all over my hand.


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