News from the Field: Day 7--Mammoth Mountain and the Mono Craters

Sue Owen and Eileen Cooper (USC) joined us again this morning. We began with a visit to the Horseshoe Lakes area, where a grove of pine trees has been poisoned by carbon dioxide gas emanating from Mammoth Mountain--as a backdrop for a discussion of volcanic hazards at Long Valley. We proceeded to Mammoth Mountain, for a long-awaited gondola trip to the mountain summit, at 11,000 feet, for a spectacular view of the Long Valley area, the high Sierra, and Yosemite Valley. The weather was gorgeous and the view magnificent. After lunch at the mountaintop, we returned to ground level for a visit to a few of the volcanic structures associated with recent activity in Long Valley: the misnamed 'Earthquake Fault' (actually a volcanic fissure), Mono Crater, a large, recent volcanic dome, and the 'Devil's Punchbowl', a young explosion crater. Another great dinner prepared by Linda Dore, our super-chef, and a sunset hike up the moraine behind SNARL. An evening 'family meeting' ended in chaos, as we try to work out all of our big plans for 'Recreation Day', coming up on Sunday.

    May 24th
The group looks forward to the 'breathtaking' view at Horseshoe Lake!
The devasted landscape surrounding the tree kill area at Horseshoe Lake.
John Rupp and Sue Owen (University of Southern California) discuss the carbon dioxide emission and its relation to magmatic activity at Long Valley
Neal Solon can't resist starting another snowball fight as defenseless Laura Dunn examines a rock sample...
The group takes off on the Mammoth Mountain gondola
A great picture of the group at the crest of Mammoth Mountain
The view to the North from Mammoth provides a great view of the volcanic structures of Long Valley, with Mono Lake visible in the distance
With the town of Mammoth Lakes and the southern edge of the caldera visible to the south. Our 'home' is right across from Crowley Lake, visible in the distance.
And a beautiful view across a snowfield to the crest of the high Sierra
John shares a discussion with the group from the Mammoth Summit
A great spot for a picnic lunch!
John, Leah, and Mariel can't resist a jump in the snow!
Until John realizes that he's mired up to his knees...
So everyone else has to keep him company!
On to the famous 'Earthquake Fault', a gaping fissure in the earth on the flanks of Mammoth Mountain
The group tries to figure out how this strange structure appeared--and decides that the name is a misnomer, since it's not a fault at all, but a volcanic fissure!
On to Mono Crater, where Michael leads a discussion on recent eruptive activity in the Mono Basin
Some intriguing structures revealed in the pumice quarry at Mono Crater
Adam, John, Leah, and Hilary do some weightlifting exercises at the quarry
If we hear one more %^$!#@ word about pumice...!
Brandy Anglen leads the way back down the mountain
And stops to take in a view of the Sierra
Leah French teaches John some gymnastic moves at the quarry gate
Back at the ranch, our super-chef Linda Dore has a great dinner waiting for us.
See Caroline's description of the Sierra panorama from the top of Mammoth Mountain [4.7 MB] Click here
View Leah's description of the Long Valley panorama from the top of Mammoth Mountain [7.0 MB] Click here