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. We continued our 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 to explore these two extraordinary mountains--made up entirely of volcanic glass! After lunch on top of Obsidian Dome, we discussed genesis of the unusual volcanic rocks of the domes, the history and future risk of volcanic eruptions, and the interaction between geologic and biologic systems in the area. We then headed to the Inyo Craters to observe another unusual volcanic feature--a crater created by a giant steam eruption 500 years ago. Another superb dinner by our gourmet chef (peppers stuffed with orzo, edamame, and cranberries!), followed by a relaxing evening in the dorm.

    May 26th
We start off the day with a meeting with our hosts, Dan and Leslie Dawson.
And then head up to Lookout Mountain for a spectacular view of the recent volcanic features of the caldera.  Obsidian Dome--the site of a 600-year-old volcanic eruption--is visible in the background.
John starts off the discussion by orienting the group with a geologic map of the area.
The group starts working on their sketches...
Renee, Liz, Lily, and Michael lay claim to the best seats in the house.
The group starts off its trek onto Obsidian Dome.
What better place to discuss the origin of volcanic rocks?
And what could taste better than a lunch on the rocks! 
Lily and Kat amidst the rubble...
John points out the volcanic tephra deposits covering neighboring White Wing Mountain.

Sam, Renee, Matt, and Emily ascend a rocky crag. 
Our supermodel Renee strikes a pose advertizing her new line of field clothing...
At Glass Creek Dome, Lily and Josh show off some dramatic flow structures.
And John falls into one of the dangerous crevasses on Glass Creek Dome!
A group photo by a massive outcrop of fresh black obsidian glass.

Lily demonstrates the similarity between silicic magma mixing and aquafresh toothpaste...
On the way back, Michael and Lily face the challenge to take a dip in the freezing cold water of Glass Creek.
Back at the car, Liz and Debby work on their hip-hop dance routine.
On to Inyo Craters--deep circular depressions created by explosive eruptions of steam and rock.

The group observes the inner structure of the crater--from a safe vantage point.

Ryan checks out the view across the crater.

And Emily saves En'Yeto from falling in.

The group strikes a pose by the rim of the crater.

Looks like we're working 'em pretty hard--Renee and Mia crash back at the dorm...

But after dinner, they still have enough energy for a lively game of trivial pursuit.