Big Obsidian Flow

    Our last stop in Newberry National Volcanic Monument was the crater and its Big Obsidian Flow. At only 1300 years ago, the flow represents the most recent eruption in Central Oregon. It is fairly easy to climb up, along a trail kindly provided by the management. Obsidian is lava that cooled into a glassy structure, which means that it didn't crystallize before it solidified. The traditional view has been that this meant rapid cooling, but I understand that this view is now being questioned. For example, this flow was so think that it would have taken months to years to solidify, and that is hardly "rapid."

This is the beginning of the trail to the top of Big Obsidian Flow.

A good view of the of the flow. Imagine yourself being surrounded by huge black glassy rocks with sharp edges, and you will get a feeling of the atmosphere around Big Obsidian Flow.

Another view of the flow. It's like building a new interstate highway out of black glass.

Near the top of the flow. You can see Paulina Lake in the background. Paulina Peak (7895 feet) is behind and to the left.

A natural opening at the top.

The sun was almost down as we left Biog Obsidian Flow.

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