The Big Obsidian Flow, Central Oregon

During my time in America, I visited the Big Obsidian Flow near Paulina Lake in Central Oregon. It was whilst I was there that I saw my first proper glance of obsidian. Being native to England, I’m not normally accustomed to seeing obsidian or pumice that doesn’t come off of a shelf for either decoration or for exfoliating skin. Therefore, I was rather excited to see the remnants of what was once volcanic magma in such large quantities.

This lava flow, the largest in Central Oregon, is 1300 years old; which is interestingly very young for such a landmark. This gigantic flow stems originally from the Newberry Volcano, which is 20 miles from Bend, Oregon, and is part of Deschutes National Forest. The first photo in this post features one of the lava vents which is part of the Newberry Caldera. The landscape shows the obsidian which covers the surrounding area, often shining in the sunlight.

On the 11th of August, when this photo was taken, the heat was nearing around 30 degrees Celsius, which is around 90 Fahrenheit. If you look at the top of the hill, you will notice smoke emitting from close to the summit. Given the heat and high risk of forest fires in August, the small wisp of smoke more than likely comes from smoking foliage. It was something that I found particularity interesting when taking this image.

Obsidian Pool finish.png

Of course, there were other interesting and remarkable sights to see at the Lava Flow. This image was taken on the way up towards the main part of the lava flow. Like all of the surrounding area, black obsidian and pumice covers the landscape. The lake below therefore provides a drastic contrast to the surrounding area. Green algae blanket the blue surface, providing a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos in the summer time. When approaching the lava flow, I knew that this was going to be a diverse and interesting place to visit. The stark contrast between the black obsidian and the green lakes and foliage is shown excellently in this photo.

Paulina Lake Finish.png

This deep contrast can be seen again when looking out towards the mountains, over Paulina Lake. The foreground here shows both the aforementioned black Obsidian as well as some of the grey coloured rocky landscape. The deep blue of Paulina Lake epitomises much of what I saw in Oregon, a state which is truly beautiful. The lakes, often boarded by dark green treelines which are overlooked by snowy mountains, highlight the beauty that is Oregon. As I’ve said before, if you’re ever anywhere close to Oregon, make sure that you visit. It really is breath taking!

Until next time,



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