Approximately 5,000 years ago lava emerged, not from a volcano, but from vents in the valley floor and flowed for 44 miles, it’s between 2 and 5 miles wide and at its thickest point 165 ft deep.
This is one of the spots where the lava stopped flowing.
As the lava flowed it surrounded higher areas forming islands called kipukas, the visitor centre and campground at the recreational area are located on one of the islands.
The lava is made up of a type of rock called olivine basalt which is similar to the lava flows in Hawaii, we haven’t been to Hawaii yet, so I guess this means we really ought to go and see if that’s true!
Clay from the edge of the flow was used to make pots and many different types of plants and animals survive in the lava, the juniper tree below is 400 years old.
Lava tubes, gypsum caves, collapsed bubbles and ice caves are also part of the lava flow.
We followed the nature trail through the lava.
It was very strange seeing sotol flowers and other plants growing out of the lava.
Have fun, we are!