Life in the Lavas
Life at Craters of the Moon lives in the shadow of the Monument's volcanism - figuratively and literally. Over millennia the living landscape was periodically sterilized by new flows of molten rock. Each time life was set back, receding to the places where it was not incinerated. No sooner had the lava cooled, however, than windblown fungal spores and bacteria began to exploit the new landscape, setting the stage for the more visible life that would follow.
Life Gets Started
With a trace of windblown soil and a few nutrients added by microscopic organisms, inconspicuous plants begin their life. They start growing in the lava's nooks and crannies where living things compete for rare water just a few critical inches away from the desiccating winds and searing heat of the surface. Life hangs on at Craters, anchored by the microscopic root hairs of over 300 species of plants, each uniquely adapted to life in a place that, at first glance, appears lifeless.