Lava Cast Forest – cavities

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After completing my scenic drive to the south I stopped at this venue which is part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument complex.  The forest covers an area of about 5 square miles.  The main attraction at this site are the holes in the ground left by the trunks of trees which had been encased in volcanic lava.

When the hot lava flowed around the trees the superheated wood produced steam which cooled the lava, which then hardened around the base of the trees.  Eventually the wood from each tree rotted, leaving behind a “cast” of the tree’s trunk, hence the name of the Forest.  The top photo shows such a cavity in the ground.  Because of the late day shadows I got closer to show the inside of the hole.  There were lots of these holes, in various sizes, along the one mile walking trail.

Although the trees rotted away, the roots, which are entombed in lava rock which now covers the surface, are said to still be found below ground.