News from the Field: Day 8--Mono Basin Volcanoes

We started the day with a drive north to Lee Vining, to start our first encounter with Mono Lake. After driving to the north shore of the lake, we hiked up to Black Point, a young volcanic center at the edge of lake. Black Point provided an excellent vantage point for an overview of Mono Lake, and an interesting example of an underwater volcano. We had lunch at the pastoral setting of Mono County Park, overlooking Mono Lake. We then drove south to Panum Crater, the youngest (and cutest!) of the Mono Basin volcanoes at only 500 years ago and had an exciting hike through the volcano's obsidian dome and a long drive home.  Our Lee Vining friends Dave Marquart and Connie Henderson joined us for a beautiful dinner of salmon (with Linda's famous mango salsa!), followed by spirited card games.

    May 29th
The famous 'Eight Bandanas' prepare for their hike up to Black Point.
The group begins the day with the long hike up to Black Point.
The group reaches the summit, finally!
John, Renee, and Emily relax at the top.
From the summit we hike up to the amazing Black Point Fissures--50 foot-deep clefts cut into the rock.
Mia, Emily, Matt and Sam make some careful geological observations of the fissures--possibly the result of fracturing of an underwater volcanic system.  Is that cool or what?! 
Rachel, Renee, Debby, Lily, Liz, and Ruben do the same...
Aha!  We can see Michael through a gap in the Fissures!
Renee gets a close look at the unusual sedimentary structures on the Fissure walls.
Ruben climbs up for a bird's eye view.
Lily in the chasm... 
Mia and Emily find their way through a tight space.
Josh and Lily find their way to the west exit of the fissures.
The group works on their interpretations from the top of the Fissures.
Ryan tries to measure whether the fissure is widening!
John and Lily work their way back to the cars along the wide shore of Mono Lake, with Paoha Island in the background.
The group collapses after an overdose of volcanology at Mono County Park.
Ryan, Liz, Renee, and Kat get some exercise during the lunch break.  
Lily, and Ruben try some innovative swing techniques, as Renee helps provide some torque. 
After lunch, the group walks down to the shores of Mono Lake to check out the famous tufa towers.  John and Michael pose beneath the great mushroom tower.
Kat, John, Ruben, and Lily relax by the lake shore.
Liz, Debby, Josh, and Michael take their turn.
After lunch, we travel south to Panum Crater, one of America's youngest (and most adorable) volcanoes.
The group hikes up to the top of the dome.
Michael, Lily, and Rachel examine the unusual obsidian structures within the dome.
Emily checks out the view from the top.

Rachel, Matt, and Liz find their niches in the outcrop.

Lily shows off a boulder with beautiful breadcrust structures.
And Ryan shows off his superhuman strength!