News from the Field: Day 5--Long Valley Caldera

An early breakfast at SNARL, followed by a meeting with Dan Dawson, SNARL's director, to go over the rules and regs at our new home. Connie Millar again joined us for a half day of exploration of the volcanic structures inside Long Valley Caldera. We started with an overview of Long Valley volcanic features at Lookout Mountain. Next we traveled to two of Long Valley's youngest features, Glass Creek and Obsidian domes, whose most recent eruptions were only about 600 years ago. The group hiked up through a snowfield (in the rain and sleet) to explore these two mountains--made up entirely of volcanic glass! After lunch on top of Glass Creek Dome, Connie Millar shared her research on the mystery White Wing trees, suddenly killed, buried in volcanic ash, and somehow displaced 1000 feet from their normal growth area. It was originally thought that these trees were the result of the volcanic eruptions associated with Glass Creek and Obsidian Domes, but Connie's research has determined that the tree's locations are the result of a natural localized climate change. Another superb dinner by our gourmet chef (lasagna, caesar salad, and fresh strawberries!), followed by an evening lecture-discussion on the nature and origin of magma by Michael.

    May 14th
John Rupp starts the day with an overview of Long Valley from Lookout Mountain.
Michael discusses some geological maps of the caldera
A great view of obsidian dome--the site of a 600-year old volcanic eruption--from Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain is an ancient native American worksite. Chris demonstrates the traditional technique of making an arrowhead out of obsidian
At the base of obsidian dome, Adam checks out the 'scratch and sniff' method of identifying Jeffrey pines
And a group hug around a giant Jeffrey pine
Jack strikes a mysterious pose in the pines... 
Connie Millar explains the mystery of the prehistoric treekill at White Wing Mountain 
From the top of Glass Creek Dome, Dan admires the view from atop a spire of obsidian
Michael falls in love--with a spectacular exposure of obsidian--at the base of Glass Creek Dome. 
And Chris discovers one too...
Intriguing flow and cooling textures in the obsidian
Michael shows off the newest in Long Valley fashions
After a rainy afternoon in Mammoth (trying to fix our busted tire!), we return to the SNARL dorm. John and Brandy work on grading the field notebooks