Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Geo 1095: May 12, Day 862: More Sloping Lava and The Husband(?)

Walking down the road toward the lower switchback (note sign in lower right), there are more steeply tilted emplaced lava flows in the road cut. This would have been quite a show to see from nearby, but this particular location would have been an unpleasant spot from which to watch it. The issue likely wouldn't have been the lava itself, at least at first. Even runny lava doesn't tend to advance that fast. But on  this slope, hot boulders breaking and rolling off the flow would have heralded the advancing front. And even if you managed to avoid getting brained by one of those, they probably would have been setting numerous fires as they bounded merrily down the mountainside.

While the above is simply an exercise of my imagination, it's neither empty nor pointless; similar events will, with almost complete certaintly, occur in the future. The portion of the Cascades between North Sister and Route 20 has been highly active during the Holocene, and with the exception of the high peaks standing above the High Cascades platform, has been almost entirely repaved with fresh young mafic flows during the past 10,000 years. This road's existence will be quite short in geologic terms. It may not be destroyed in the lifetime of anyone reading this, in fact, it most likely won't be. It might be centuries, but it might be only months... this drive will almost certainly be buried under fresh basalt.

As I indicated in the title, I think the peak on the horizon in the left middle is The Husband, a large peak to the west of The Three Sisters, though of lower prominance than any of them. I'm not certain, though, thus the parenthetical question mark.

Photo unmodified. October 9, 2014. FlashEarth location.

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