Craters – Surface Surveys



Craters of the Moon Lava Field – Idaho, USA

Protected in 1924 as a US National Monument and in 2017, the Monument received an International Dark Sky Park designation in 2019.

Occupying an area of 400 square miles and bordering the Snake River Plain, Craters of the Moon Lava Field is the largest Holocene-aged, basaltic lava field in the continental US and one of the best-preserved.

Between 6 million and 15,000 years ago the first volcanic eruptions resulted in 4,000-ft. thickness of basalt flows.  Sporadic eruptions continued between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago that now form the current surface of the Craters of the Moon Lava Field.

In 1969, Apollo 14 astronauts spent time in the lava fields in preparation for their trip to the moon. NASA research continues at Craters of the Moon today.

Craters is one of six individual studies in a series of protected desert physiographies titled Surface Surveys.  Each survey embodies the planet’s natural, essential expression, and underscores the ethereal nature of wild lands in our current, anthropocentric age.