Big Lava Bed

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Big Lava Bed
Big Lava Bed.jpg
The forested slope in the foreground is part of the Big Lava Bed, a 0.9 cu km lava flow erupted from the cinder cone in the background about 8200 years ago. The lava flow traveled 13 km from the source crater and is the youngest feature of the Indian Heaven volcanic field.
Elevation 4,195 feet (1,279 m)
Location Skamania County, Washington, U.S.
Range Cascade Range
Coordinates 45°54′N 121°45′W / 45.9°N 121.75°W / 45.9; -121.75[1]
Type Fissure vent, Cinder cone, Explosive eruption, and lava field[2][3]
Age of rock 6250 BC ± 100 years, in the late Pleistocene to Holocene
Volcanic arc/belt Indian Heaven
Last eruption 8200 years ago[4]

The Big Lava Bed, located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the southwestern area of the State of Washington, originated from a 500-foot-deep crater in the northern center of the bed. The Big Lava Bed is the youngest feature of the Indian Heaven volcanic field. The 0.9-cubic kilometer lava flow erupted from the cinder cone about 8200 years ago. The lava flow traveled 13 km from the source crater. Lodgepole pine, alder, and other pioneer plants struggle to grow, seen sparsely growing between and amid towering rock piles, caves, and strange lava formations. Access into the interior of the lava bed is difficult, since there are no roads or trails crossing the lava field. Explorers who wish to venture deep within the lava flow are advised to choose their route carefully. Compasses are not always reliable, since local magnetic influences affect their magnetic performance in the vast expanse of rock.[5]

Satellite map showing the various shield volcanoes topped by cinder and spatter cones that characterizes the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field The Big Lava Flow can be seen as the lighter green/brown area at the bottom center. The orange volcano icon in the flow marks the location of the cinder cone, the lava flow's source.


Lemei Rock is one of the many shield volcanoes topped by cinder cones and spatter cones that make up the Indian Heaven Volcanic Field. About 60 eruptive centers lie on the 19-mile (30 km) long, N10°E-trending, Indian Heaven fissure zone. The 230 square miles (600 km2) field has a volume of about 20 cubic miles (100 km3) and forms the western part of a 770-square-mile (2,000 km2) Quaternary basalt field in the southern Washington Cascades, including the King Mountain fissure zone along which Mount Adams was built.

Indian Heaven Volcanic Field and Mount Adams Volcanic Vicinity Digital Relief Map showing Lemei Rock and the various other peaks that make up the volcanic field.
This section is about the volcanic field. For the federally-protected wilderness area, see Indian Heaven Wilderness.
Name Elevation Location Last eruption
meters   feet   Coordinates
Big Lava Bed 1,278.6 4,195 45°54′N 121°45′W / 45.9°N 121.75°W / 45.9; -121.75 ~8150 years ago
Bird Mountain 5,706 1,739 46°02′21″N 121°46′52″W / 46.0392°N 121.78106°W / 46.0392; -121.78106 ~8,200 years ago
Crazy Hills      
East Crater 1,614 5,295 46°00′N 121°47′W / 46°N 121.78°W / 46; -121.78 ~8,200 years ago
Gifford Peak 1,614 5,295   ~8,200 years ago
Lemei Rock 1,806 5,925 46°1′6″N 121°45′36″W / 46.01833°N 121.76000°W / 46.01833; -121.76000 ~8,200 years ago
Lone Butte 1,457 4,780 46°03′N 121°52′W / 46.05°N 121.87°W / 46.05; -121.87 ~8,200 years ago
Red Mountain 1,513 4,964 45°56′N 121°49′W / 45.93°N 121.82°W / 45.93; -121.82 ~8,200 years ago
Sawtooth Mountain 1,632 5,354 46°04′N 121°47′W / 46.07°N 121.78°W / 46.07; -121.78 ~8,200 years ago

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