Monday, March 12, 2012

Death Valley :: Ubehebe Crater

Wednesday, March 7th - - After stopping at Zabriske Point and the visitors center I drove the 60 miles or so to the north end of the park. On my last visit the road was under construction with long delays and I didn't have the patience to deal with it. I spent the night at Mesquite Spring Campground, which as rustic as it is, is one of the nicer campgrounds in the park – the campgrounds at Texas Spring, Sunset, and Stovepipe Wells are little more than parking lots with the campers lined up side by side.

Thursday, March 8th - - I was still quite tired from the drive on Tuesday and slowly got myself up and around this morning. Since I had never been in this area of the park before I took a look at the Visitor Guide. I knew Scotty's Castle was only a few miles away but wasn't aware that the Ubehebe Crater was even closer. (Ubehebe is pronounced u-bee hee-bee.)

The crater was formed about 2,000 years ago when hot, molten rock turned groundwater into steam. The intense steam pressure built until the superheated combination of steam and rock exploded. The explosion spewed shattered rock over a six-square-mile area, in some places to depths of 150 feet. Ubehebe is the largest of many explosion craters in the area – it is a half mile across and about 600 feet deep.

Several trails lead into the floor of the crater. I didn't even attempt to go down. You can't see them in the photo above, but there are two people down there.

See, there they are... barely visible at full zoom!

A trail also follows the crater rim, how long it is I don't know. I did follow the path up to another smaller crater, which according to a sign was half a mile distant.

A panoramic view of Ubehebe Crater. The parking lot is down that path on the left side of the crater, about half way into the picture. Be sure to double-click on the photo for a larger version, then click again when it opens – it is an incredible landscape.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Death Valley is on my bucket list. Maybe next year.

Great photos!