Recently my family took a trip up to Washington for a family reunion, and I got a lot of photos along the way. On the way up through Oregon we stopped at Crater Lake, where I was able to take enough photos (6 in this case) to assemble a panorama.
|Crater Lake, with Wizard Island visible on the left.|
The eruption of Mount Mazama was a truly monumental event (the name comes from a Native American word that means “mountain goat”, although the name was given by a hiking club from Portland in 1896). According to estimates it released around 25 cubic miles of tephra (which is a geologist's word for “pretty much anything a volcano erupts that isn't lava”, basically ash, cinders, and rocks). For comparison, Mt. St. Helens released a mere 0.67 cubic miles of tephra during its eruption of 1980, and when Krakatau blew up in 1883 it released about 5 cubic miles of stuff. Twenty-five cubic miles is a lot of ash. According to the visitors' center it would be enough to blanket Oregon to a depth of 8 inches.
One cool thing about Mount Mazama's eruption is the fact that it occurred within living memory of the local Klamath tribes, who passed on oral history accounts of the eruption. That must have been a sight to see (and survive) indeed!