David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Visiting Snowy Lassen Peak in July 2011

If we heard anything this winter from Eruptions readers in California like Diane, it was that it was snowy in the mountains. Very snowy. We're talking 50-100% more than usual sorts of snow levels. This, it turns out, was more than just rumor as the trip I took to Lassen Volcanic National Park was almost sidelined by snow - in mid July! However, the weather gods took kindly to us and the Summit Lake North campground (elevation 6695 ft) opened on the day we had our reservation ... July 22. Yes, it didn't open until almost the end of July and what greeted us in the Park was at first very little snow and then, close to the Bumpass Hell and the trailhead for the Lassen Peak summit trail, snowbanks on the side of the Park road that reached 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters). The snow was still in full force.

This trip didn't have a lot of science to it - the goal was for my summer/senior research student to see where the samples of the 1915 eruptive products from which he extracted zircon came. So, mostly a "look-see" trip, which was a lot of fun. I've culled a few of the best pictures from the trip (taken by me or Theresa Kayzar, a friend from UW days). I've added a little commentary as well for content. Enjoy (the snow).

The road towards Lassen Peak from the South Entrance of the park. At lower elevations, there wasn't any snow on the ground.

However, once you got to the highest part of the road above 8000', the game changed. This is the snow at the parking lot for the Lassen Peak trailhead on July 23, 2011.

We saw a skier out on these slopes, seen from the Lassen Peak trail.

Brokeoff Mountain, one of the ancestral volcanoes (Mt. Tehama) of the Lassen Volcanic Field, as seen from the slopes of Lassen Peak.

A view of Lassen Peak from near the Bumpass Hell trailhead. Note that Lake Helen, in the foreground right, is still frozen over on July 25, 2011.

Part of the Bumpass Hell trail, still covered with snow. Lassen Peak is seen in the background, with me in the foreground and Gary Eppich heading off down the trail. Slushy conditions reigned.

Our first view of Bumpass Hell. The final descent involved skittering down the snowy hillside to get to thermal area. To give you a sense of snowdepth, many of the trees in the foreground were buried up to 6 feet / 2 meters in the snow.

Even with all the snow, the water levels were relatively low at Bumpass Hell. However, the steam vents (fumaroles) were still going strong.

Lassen Peak as seen from the Devastated Area, named as such after being destroyed during the 1915 eruption. All the trees in the foreground have grown since that event.

The Chaos Jumbles on the north side of the Park Road. This is the product of a massive debris avalanche from Chaos Crags. The Crags are a series of rhyodacite domes that erupted ~1,100 years ago, so the Jumbles has to be younger than that - in fact, they might be as little as 300 years old. This spot in the Jumbles is almost 2 miles / 3.2 km from the Crags themselves.

Looking at some of the debris in the Jumbles shows the hallmark of many lavas erupted at the Lassen Volcanic Field - magma mixing. These chunks of one lava mixed into another (called enclaves or quenched inclusions) can be found in many lavas erupted over the entire history of the Volcanic Field and are especially abundant in the 1915 Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags lavas.

Definitely the snowiest it has been on any of my visits to Lassen Peak, but it did not deter from the fun and awe of the southernmost Cascade volcano.

Top left: Lassen Peak from the Bumpass Hell trail, as seen on July 25, 2011.

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
Keep reading Show less

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Keep reading Show less
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

Scroll down to load more…