Carl Henning

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Our fourth National Park of this trip, Lassen Volcanic National Park. In May of 1914 Lassen Peak produced the most recent eruption in the mainland United States (until Mount St. 1980). A local photographer was nearby and captured pictures of the eruption. This is a rare area where all four types of volcanos exist in close proximity.

  1. Shield: broad and rounded, it is formed by repeated outpourings of fluid lava.
  2. Cinder Cone: just what it says. We visited one earlier in our trip, Capulin Volcano.
  3. Plug Dome: created when the lava is too thick to flow far.
  4. Composite: layers of volcanic rock, lava, cinders, and ash.


On the night of May 15, 1915 a homesteader was awakened by his dog. Thinking that predators were nearby he went out to discover a 12-foot wall of debris coming down the creek. He ran to his six neighbors allowing them to escape. There was no loss of life.

Lassen Volcanic was our 37th National Park visited. I’d like to get to all 63, but one is in American Samoa and one is in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of the remaining 61, two or more are accessible only by boat and one only by plane.

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