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Geologic Superlatives


Mount McKinleyDenali National Park, Alaska - Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. More

Wizard Island in Crater LakeCrater Lake National Park, Oregon - Just under 2,000 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the second deepest in the Western Hemisphere. Mt. Mazama, at one time rising over 12,000 ft. in the Cascade Range, erupted around 8,000 years ago. The cataclysmic emptying of the magma chamber caused the mountain to collapse, forming a deep caldera that has subsequently filled with rain and snow melt creating Crater Lake. No streams flow in or out of the crater. More

Badwater Salt PanDeath Valley National Park, California and Nevada - One of the hottest places on the surface of the Earth with summer temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It encompasses the lowest surface elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet below the level of the sea, and it is the driest place in North America with an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year. More

Rainbow BridgeRainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah - The world's largest natural bridge is over 290 feet tall and 275 feet wide. At the site of Rainbow Bridge, water flowing through the Bridge Canyon drainage flowed in a tight curve around a thin fin of soft Navajo Sandstone that jutted into the canyon. Eventually this fin was breached and Bridge Creek changed course to flow through Rainbow Bridge. Under full conditions, Lake Powell obscures some of the height of Rainbow Bridge. More

Upper Yosemite FallYosemite National Park, California - Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in United States and the 5th tallest in the world at 2,425 feet. Every second 2,500 gallons of water pour over the lip of the hanging valley, which was created by glaciers during the most recent glacial period. More

Delicate ArchArches National Park, Utah - Contains the greatest density of arches in the world. With over 2,000 catalogued arches, every stage of arch formation and deterioration is displayed. The world famous Delicate Arch, the remnant of a former fin, is one of the most striking, strange, and well photographed arches, while the airy, Landscape Arch is one the widest in the world with a base of over 300 feet. Arches are fundamentally different from natural bridges in that bridges are formed by flowing water. More

Craters of the MoonCraters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho - Contains some of the best and most recent basaltic lava features in the conterminous U.S. spreading out over 600 sq. mi. in the Snake River Plain. The lava fields, only 15,000 to 2,000 years old, occur along the Great Rift, displaying some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world. There are extensive examples of pahoehoe, aa, block lava, tree molds, lava tubes, cinder cones, and many other volcanic features. Craters of the Moon represents the second, basaltic stage of the violent rhyolitic eruptions that helped to create Yellowstone National Park. More

waters at KeweenawKeweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan - The oldest and largest lava flow known on Earth is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. Volcanic activity at Keeweenaw produced the only place on Earth where large scale economically recoverable 97 percent pure native copper is found. More



Mount KatmaiKatmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska - Largest volcano eruption in the twentieth century. Mount Katmai, one of the volcanoes Katmai National Park and Preserve, has proved upon investigation to have unusual size and character, and to be of importance in the study of volcanism. Its eruption in June 1912 was one of excessive violence, ranking in the first order of volcanic explosive eruptions and emitting several cubic miles of material during its first three days of activity. More

updated on 01/04/2005  I   http://nature.nps.gov/Geology/geologic_wonders/superlatives.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster
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