Thursday, June 2, 2011

The volcanic crater in the Nass Valley

The way the cloud seems to rise from the mountain top evokes a sense of what the volcano may have looked like when it began to erupt a couple of hundred years ago.

I took the photo on a trip to the Nass Valley with my brother in 2007. We had a wonderful day together; I have seldom felt such a sense of unhurried calm, peace and connection to our amazing earth.

When I was about twenty, I joined a group and we hiked up through the loose lumps of lava and looked down into the hollow and symmetrical volcanic cone.

Today the area is Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park. Signs posted there say the volcanic cataclysm that emptied that mountain filled the Nass Valley with a layer of lava up to 12 metres thick. The eruption also changed the course of the Nass River, moving it over by a mile.

Since I climbed it, the image of that hollow cone has stayed with me. Its allure was powerful. I was deeply impressed to see how the earth's crust had exploded and created a reverse image of the mountains that flanked the Skeena valley where I grew up.

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