• View of the Great Rift

    Craters Of The Moon

    National Monument & Preserve Idaho

Geologic Formations

Nature and Science

Blue Dragon Pahoehoe Lava Flow

The 3 young lava fields found in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve range in age from 15,000 years to 2000 years. Craters of the Moon lava field, the largest of the three fields found along the Great Rift, is made up of about 60 lava flows and 25 volcanic cones that cover 618 square miles. It provides outstanding examples of how molten basaltic rock can solidify into various types of lava. The basic types include block lava (very dense and formed into angular blocks), aa lava (a rough, jagged, clinkery surface), and pahoehoe lava (a smooth, ropy, or billowy surface). Visitors can also see vents, fissures, cinder cones, lava tubes, lava bombs, spatter cones, tree molds, rafted blocks, and many other volcanic features and structures.

Below are links to some detailed geologic maps and guides to the geology of the Craters of the Moon lava field.


Geological Field Trips in S. Idaho, E. Oregon, and N. Nevada
Chapter 10 provides a detailed field trip guide to the Craters of the Moon flow

Did You Know?

willife and plants at Craters of the Moon

Moonscape?...At first glance the landscape of Craters of the Moon appears to be devoid of life. Look deeper and you will observe a rich diversity of life including more than 750 types of plants and almost 300 animal species (not including insects!). More...