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Craters of the Moon: Idaho's Alien Landscape


The landscape, now calm and placid, illustrates a long history of violent geologic activity. The valley floor has long cracks where stretching of the crust from underground magma proved too much for the basaltic blanket over the land. Craters of the Moon, a wilderness area in southern Idaho, is one of the world's most unusual and unique features. Little precipitation and relatively low temperatures in the region have preserved the extensive lava flows for several thousand years. This makes Craters of the Moon a geologic wonder and a must see for anyone interested in Idaho.

Idaho History

Craters of the Moon has two histories: geologic and human. The surface basalts erupted between 2,000 and 15,000 years ago in eight distinct periods of volcanism. In terms of geologic time, that was not very long ago at all. As aforementioned, they do not experience extensive weathering, and so many stages of basaltic eruptions are preserved in the rocks and formations that make up the landscape. Pahoehoe and aa (pronounced ah-ah) lava formations mark the stages of volcanic eruptions. Watch where you step! The ropy pahoehoe won't hurt your feet, but the prickly aa will.

Human documentation of Craters of the Moon includes the adventures of Lewis and Clark, the pioneers who followed them, and President Calvin Coolidge's 1924 establishment of it as a national park. One pioneer called the landform "the Devil's vomit." Luckily, this title didn't stick, nor did it affect the Idaho opinion at the time. Farmers and ranchers stuck around and made the surrounding region a great place to live, proving Idaho homes can thrive just about anywhere. Craters of the Moon was given its name because local rumor was that it closely resembled the surface of the moon. It was totally alien terrain. NASA later refuted this claim, since Craters of the Moon was a product of volcanism and the Moon's features were caused by meteor collisions. Today, it is a treasured pride in Idaho's arsenal of good qualities. Idaho homes for sale near this location have easy access to this unusual park, you might want to have a peek.

Current Day

craters_of_the_moon1_sm_300Idahoans enjoy exploring this weird landmark and geology expeditions from universities throughout the region come to study the remarkably preserved basalt flows. Idaho homes for sale are an excellent option for the geology buff or the intuitive investigator and there are more "finds" throughout the Gem State. The Snake River Plain, which houses about two thirds of Idaho's population is a vast and interesting landscape. Craters of the Moon is open year round, and diverse in each of its seasons. It houses several camping grounds and a visitors center, where you can learn about the geologic phenomenon you are about to witness.

If are researching Idaho homes for sale, consider southern Idaho. It's vast and varied landscapes, and it's proximity to one of the strangest places on earth, make it a fascinating place to live. If southwestern Idaho isn't your style, fear not. Craters of the Moon is available to anyone and everyone, so have fun exploring.

Kevin Hughes

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