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Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Family Trip to the Lava River Caves:

On Mother's Day, my friend Wendy, her husband Steve and daughter Amelia visited the Lava River Caves, which are right off HWY 97 and are about 10 minutes from our house.  I have driven by them for years, but have never been there.  After seeing the pics, I don't think I want to go.  It looks kind of spooky to me.  It involves a bit of hiking, the need for light and is cold year round.  You walk to the end, which is about 1 mile, and then turn around and come back out.  
They really enjoyed their time in the cave though, and I appreciate them sharing their photos with us.  Thanks, you guys!  Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it.

Lava River Cave (from the USFS website):
Lava River Cave is an excellent example of a lava tube and is the longest continuous tube in Oregon.
During long-lived eruptions flowing lava becomes channelized into a few main streams. Overflows of lava from these streams solidify quickly and plaster on to the channel walls, building natural walls that allow the level of the lava to be raised. Lava streams that flow steadily in a confined channel for many hours to days may develop a solid crust or roof and thus change gradually into streams within lava tubes. If molten rock (magma) stops rising to the surface at the source, the still-molten lava moving beneath the crusted-over top of a lava flow can continue to drain downhill and may ultimately leave an open lava tube cave. Because the walls and roofs of such tubes are good thermal insulators, lava flowing through them can remain hot and fluid much longer than surface flows. Tube-fed lava can be transported for great distances from the eruption sites.
The eruption which formed this cave occurred about 80,000 years ago. The source is believed to be near Mokst Butte but it has been buried by younger flows. This flow underlies much of Bend and nearly reaches Redmond.
  • The 22.5 acre Lava Rivers Cave site was acquired by the Forest Service through an exchange of land with the State of Oregon in 1981. The area around the cave was originally donated to the State of Oregon for a park in 1926 by the Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company.

  • Lava River Cave is about 6200 feet long, as wide as 50 feet in places, and the ceiling is as much as 60 feet high in places.

  • The Lava River Cave area has three ecosystems: the warm dry climate surrounding the entrance; the warm moist microclimate at the entrance; and the cool, moist, dark environment of the cave.

  • At the point where Lava River Cave crosses beneath U.S. Hwy. 97 the roof of the cave is 50 feet thick.

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Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Well, it looks really cool, and when I was a kid I would have loved it. I'm a bit claustrophobic these days, so not sure I could manage it.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Lisa, I know what you mean. I always thought that I would visit there someday, but now, after I've seen the pics I've decided that they are good enough.

Shannon, my friend Patty's daughter who is 10, said that she kept tripping and didn't end up going all the way to the end, but she thought it was cool.


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