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northern California | November 2009 | part 2 | Lassen Peak | Hat Creek Valley

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Published on Nov 24, 2009

This video is part 2 of a trip to northern California 13, 14, and 15 November 2009. My original goal on this trip was to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, but, due to recent snowfall, the road through the park was closed. I will return someday.

In addition to views of Lassen Peak, this video includes footage of Sutter Buttes, the Sacramento River, Mount Shasta (a stratovolcano located north of Lassen Peak), and the Hat Creek Valley, including Bidwell Ranch, Bidwell Pond, and the fault scarp of Hat Creek Rim. The Hat Creek Valley is a structural graben filled with Quaternary basaltic lava flows. I take a short walk on one of these lava flows toward the end of the video (7:03 to 8:50).

Lassen Peak erupted last in 1915. Similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens (though not quite as catastrophic), Lassen's eruption produced a lateral blast, mudflows and pyroclastic flows, and a devastated area with acres of trees felled and a landscape rearranged on its northeast flank. Today, in addition to the devastated area, there are a number of hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles and geysers within the park boundary. Also within the park boundary are numerous cinder cones and other volcanic peaks of varying age.

After the 1915 eruption, Lassen Volcanic National Park was created using lands previously within Lassen National Forest. Therefore Lassen Volcanic National Park is surrounded by Lassen National Forest, lands that also contain numerous volcanic features such as cinder cones, lava flows, shield volcanoes and plug domes.

Also within the National Forest are designated Wilderness Areas such as the twenty-five and one half square mile Thousand Lakes Wilderness Area, an area containing both basaltic and andesitic lava flows, cinder cones (such as the Tumble Buttes, Hall Butte, and Eiler Butte), the volcanic pile of Freaner Peak (composed of blocky andesite flows), and valleys and lakes that are the legacy of Pleistocene glaciation. If I'm able to wrangle another trip to this area, I plan to visit Thousand Lakes Wilderness Area as well.

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