Near Arco in Butte County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
A Plain of Volcanoes
In the past 17 million years , there have been about a dozen catastrophic eruptions releasing huge volumes of rhyolitic magma and ash. Between these super-eruptions were long periods when more fluid basaltic lava flowed from more than 8,000 shield volcanoes and numerous lave cones. Remnants of these dot the Eastern Snake River Plain today. Layer upon layer of basalt flows extend 3,000 - 6,000 feet (1,000 - 2,000 m) below the surface, completely covering the rhyolite “basement.”
(Left Graphic Description)
Sinking Rivers And A Flowing Aquifer
Streams that flow here are indirect tributaries to the Snake River. The aptly named Lost River flows to an area north of here known as “the sinks” where it soaks into the ground, becoming part of an aquifer the volume of Lake Erie. The aquifer flows through pores and fractures in the rock hundreds of feet beneath the surface, eventually
(Middle Graphic Description)
Big Southern Butte
Big Southern Butte, rising 2,500 feet (760 m) above the Eastern Snake River Plain, is a prominent reminder of the regionís volcanism. About 300,000 years ago, the butte intruded through surrounding layers of basalt, rising to an elevation of 7,560 feet (2,300 m). It is one of the largest composite rhyolite domes in the world.
(Right Graphic Description)
Ancient calderas are evidence of the North American Continentís movement over the Yellowstone hotspot.
When Yellowstone Caldera erupted 640,000 years ago, it released about 240 cubic miles (1,000 km 3) of material, covering half of North America in 6 feet (2 m) of debris.
Location. 43° 32.911′ N, 113° 0.548′ W. Marker is near Arco, Idaho, in Butte County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 20 at milepost 265, 1.2 miles west of Van Buren Boulevard, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is located at the Lost River Rest Area. Marker is in this post office area: Arco ID 83213, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Prehistory and Recent History (here, next to this marker); Lost River (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nuclear Reactors (about 300 feet away).
Categories. • Natural Features •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 398 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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