Golden Gate Photo - Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area Gallery
Fine Art Photography from Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area, Oregon.


Diamond Craters was recently established as Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area due to its unique volcanic landscape, as well as botanical and faunal diversity. It was named in 1874 after local rancher Mace McCoy's Diamond brand. The volcanic terrain covers an area of 23 square miles (about 60 square km) and represents one of the most recent volcanic centers in Oregon, next to the Cascade Volcanoes. This Quaternary-age basaltic volcanic complex is also one of the most diverse in North America, including aa and pahoehoe flows, cinder cones, spatter cones and spires, domes, and lava lakes. The craters formed sometime during the last 25,000 years as molten basalt rose through fissures and flooded the surface, which was then largely dry lake beds. Before the initial erupted material completely cooled, additional basaltic magma rose, arching the surface upward and creating 6 structural domes.

Big Bomb Crater

Big Bomb Crater

Big Bomb Crater is a cinder cone containing pyroclastic material, including volcanic bombs. The reddish bomb in the foreground is about 2.5 feet (76 cm) across. Explosions formed as hot magma came in contact with water-saturated layers, causing the water to flash to steam. In this cone, some of the bombs have glassy cores, indicating very rapid cooling. The glass has been analyzed and found to be about 17,000 years old.

Print No. A01NW-2-11

Pahoehoe

Pahoehoe

Pouring from the edge of Lava Pit Crater, these bands of solidified lava are called pahoehoe. This pit crater formed as basalt lava repeatedly welled up through the vent and flooded the surface or flowed out through subsurface channels that would eventually become lava tubes.

Print No. A01NW-2-12

Malheur Maar

Malheur Maar

The water in Malheur Maar is about 6 feet (2 meters) deep. Beneath the water lie over 50 feet (15 meters) of sediments which contain thousands of years accumulation of plant pollen. Near the bottom of this sediment sequence are ash deposits from the eruption of Mount Mazama (now Crater Lake) 7,700 years ago. Hence, the volcanic event that produced Malheur Maar must be older than 7,700 years.

Print No. A01NW-4-5

Red Bomb Crater

Red Bomb Crater

Red Bomb Crater is another cinder cone and is about 1,000 feet (300 meters) in diameter. The reddish-brown cinders that comprise much of this cone are a type of basalt called scoria, a low-density rock containing abundant gas bubbles.

Print No. A01NW-4-3

Agglomerate Fissures

Agglomerate Fissures

This view is from the spatter cone area. Cracks (fissures) opened up allowing the soupy lava to spurt a few feet into the air. The globs of lava "spatter" on the surface around the fissures, slowly cool, and build up mounds (spires or cones) or ridgelines. The spatter material, along with volcanic bombs and ash, weld together forming a rock type called agglomerate.

Print No. A01NW-4-7

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