Home » The Volcanic Legacy – Central Oregon
From British Columbia to California, a chain of vulcanoes are evidence of the tectonic activities that unfold many miles under the surface in North America’s far west. A large number of eruptions shaped and formed the landscape around the vulcanoes, sometimes leaving behind eerie, barren lava and ash fields like in central Oregon, but also creating places of almost unreal beauty, like Crater Lake.
We stayed several days at an RV park in Bend, Oregon, a nice medium-sized town with a pittoresque downtown shopping area, and explored scenic central Oregon from here.

Downtown Bend, OR

About one hour away, huge lava fields bear witness to several large eruptions 1500 – 2000 years ago. It is fascinating that even after such a long time still only very little vegetation is able to gain a foothold on this ground.



Two lava streams have merged here – still clear to see

One large eruption – about 7,000 years ago – created this huge lava field:

An ash and pumice field from another eruption, about 1,700 years ago. This is the area where the astronauts did part of the training for the Apollo moon landing missions in the 1960’s and 70’s 

Another interesting feature of the area are the lava tubes that formed during eruptions. This one is over 8,000 years old and remained unchanged during all the time. It is several miles long and up to 300 feet below the surface. About 1 mile is accessible to visitors – some parts of the tube are over 60 ft high and 30 ft wide. The tube is not illuminated, but pitch black – except for the flashlight that scares unsuspecting visitors!

 

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