Thursday, July 26, 2012

McKenzie Pass Volcanics

This morning en route to Eugene, Oregon, from Bend where my buddy Dave and I lodged last night, we made passage over McKenzie Pass in the midst of the Cascade Volcanic Arc. I had never visited this region before other than a brief drive through Bend so this was a real eye-opener for me. I had no idea this volcanic wonderland even existed and feel strongly compelled to return one day. One of my favorite human-made structures is the Dee Wright Observatory located at the top of McKenzie Pass.

Geologically recent lava flow (since the most recent glaciation retreated) with Mount Washington in background.
Extinct Mount Washington
Belknap Crater at left with Little Belknap (the source of this lava) at center like a nipple and Mount Washington at right.
Mount Washington as a backdrop to lava flows as recent as 1,400 years ago.
McKenzie Summit with the Dee Wright Observatory to the right of Highway 242.
North Sister (left) and Middle Sister (right) from McKenzie Pass.
Lava tube adjacent to on the east-bound side of Highway 242 with North and Middle Sister in the background.
Mount Washington as backdrop to lava flows emanating from Little Belknap.
Belknap Crater (left) with lava flows covering Little Belknap and Mount Washington at right in the distance.
Two kipukas (islands) sit amidst this lava flow.
North and Middle Sister with lava flows emanating from vents on North Sister's northern flank.
Dee Wright Observatory
North and Middle Sister as viewed from the walkway up the side of Dee Wright Observatory.
North Sister and Middle Sister as viewed from atop Dee Wright Observatory.
Interior of the Dee Wright Observatory built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Classic example of a kipuka or island in the midst of a lava flow.
Lava flow emanating from Little Belknap runs right up to the base of Dee Wright Observatory from whence this image was captured.
North Sister (left) and Middle Sister (right) loom over lava flows that emanated vents on the lower north flank of North Sister.
View east from atop Dee Wright Observatory overlooking McKenzie Summit.
Dee Wright Observatory trail wends its way through lava from Little Belknap above right.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

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