Craters of the moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush we invite you to explore this weird and scenic landscape where yesterdays volcanic events are likely to continue tomorrow. Craters of the moon formed during eight major eruptive periods between 15000 and 2000 years ago lava erupted from the great rift a series of deep cracks that start near the visitor center and stretch 52 miles 84 km to the southeast. Craters of the moon national monument protects the largest basaltic lava field in the lower 48 states the monument is filled with hundreds of unique volcanic formations including lava tunnels cinder cones and ice caves created by the heat and eruptions of the great rift. Craters of the moon was so named because at one time before people had actually gone to the moon some people thought that the landscape resembled the moons surface the name became official with the establishment of the monument in 1924. Birds are some of the most noticeable animals at craters of the moon even in the heat of a summer afternoon or the bitter cold of a jan morning common raven and clarks nutcracker can be seen in many areas of the monument to date 207 species have been sighted at the monument and preserve
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