Craters of the Moon is a national park and monument in the Snake River plain in Idaho. It is part of the United States. The park opened on May 2, 1924.
In November 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation that helped the monument take over more land. In August of 2002, the Craters of the Moon were given the extended part of the National Park Service.
Table of Contents
What are Craters of the Moon Park?
The park is about 1,117 square miles and has three main lava fields and over 400 square miles of Sage-Brush grassland.
There are more than 53,571 acres in the monument, on Idaho’s Great Rift, where the three lava fields are some of the best open rift cracks on earth, including the deepest crack, about 800 feet deep.
The lava field covers an area of 618 square miles, making it the largest basaltic field of lava from the Holocene in the United States. It has more than 25 volcanic cones, some of which are unique. Among other things, the monument has all the different kinds of basaltic lava and lava tubes.
How the park is used
The monument has a lot of rough, barren flows that make the landscape look like it has no life. Even though there aren’t that many animals here, there are a lot of habitats that are good for life. Some of the places where these animals usually live are:
1) Cinder Regions
A cinder garden takes up about 2% of the monument’s area. As the soil grows in the coals, the antelope bitterbrush takes over the shrub community.
2) Flows of lava
The only thing that makes plants grow in this habitat is the presence of soil. Soil is only on the young basalt rocks, where it got blown into cracks and fissures.
Plants will start to grow in the cracks as they get bigger. Dry winds can be hard on plants, but deeper cracks protect them from this.
There are three plant cover types in the monument’s northern part. These are the riparian, the upland-quaking aspen, and the mountain snowberry. About 0.3% of the land is covered by plants, which are important places for wildlife to live.
The quaking aspen grows on upland sites, while the mountain snowberries grow on the north-facing slopes of the cinder cones along Cottonwood Canyon.
These are islands of plants that grew on older lava flows. Newer lava flows surround them. Some kipukas may have died because of fires or too much grazing, but others are safe because of the rough lava.
Needlegrass, blue-bunch wheatgrass, and big sagebrush are some of the most common plants.
Older cinder fields and flows are home to many plant communities, from sagebrush steppes to wildflower gardens. The different lava deposits make different places for animals to live, like underground caves, cinder flats, jagged piles, deep cracks, and bare rocks.
How the moon’s craters are different
The unique lava flows that hardened into the park’s fields happened between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. About 2,200 years have passed since the Wapi and Kings-bowl lava fields were formed.
The monument has unique lava tube caves, such as the Indian Tunnel, Big Cinder Butte, one of the largest pure basaltic cinder cones on earth, and the Blue Dragon Flow. There are a lot of smaller Kapukas all over the monument.
People Going To The Park
The monument is one of the most visited places in Idaho, and everyone can enjoy its many natural features.
The visitor’s center has a short film about the geology of the area and a number of books and displays about the monument’s history.
The Devil’s Orchard, tree molds, craters and spatter cones, and the cave region are some natural things that people can see here. The caves are about a half-mile from the parking area. Some of the caves are called Beauty, Dewdrop, and Boy Scout.
Dangers for the park
The volcanic field at the monument is made up of many different flows of lava, which means that it erupted more than once.
The crater is still there, even though it hasn’t erupted in over 2,000 years. If it blows up again, the craters will show different kinds of eruptions, from a slow flow of lava to a high lava fountain that will destroy the nearby farms and cause much damage.
In the event of an eruption, three national highways that go through the monuments could be closed. If it happens on the Great Rift’s northern side, the national monuments’ people and buildings are in danger. This is why it is essential to leave at the first sign of volcanic activity.