HomeNorth AmericaDiamond Craters – A Scintillating Escape into Nature’s Geological Masterpiece
Diamond Craters – A Scintillating Escape into Nature’s Geological Masterpiece
The Diamond Craters are a monogenetic volcanic field about 40 miles southeast of Burns, Oregon. Approximately 27 square miles of basaltic lava flows, cinder cones and maars make up the field. Visiting the area requires some precautions due to its isolation.
Make sure, there are tourist facilities are not available at Diamond Craters. Gasoline is sold at Frenchglen, which is the closest station. New radiocarbon dates and paleomagnetic data have been interpreted to limit the eruption of volcanic vents in this volcanic field to the period between 7320 and 7790 calendar years B.P. Basaltic volcanism is prevalent throughout the area.
Mace McCoy established the Diamond Ranch in the area, which inspired Diamond Craters and Diamond Post Office. It was named after a diamond-shaped brand used by the ranch. There are numerous features to be seen at the Outstanding Natural Area, including cinder cones, spatter cones, lava tubes, dribble Spiers, a graben, and a water-filled maar.
Commercial stonecutters illegally removed lava slabs from Diamond Craters for use as a veneer for fireplaces, home exteriors, and chimneys in the 1970s, causing controversy between the Bureau of Land Management and commercial stonecutters.
An area of about three miles in diameter was covered with lava during the early eruptive phase. Rather than being forced out of the subsurface by lava flows, magma (molten rock) filled the shallow subsurface.
This resulted in five or six elongated welts rising 500 feet above the surrounding lava plain as a result of the solidified crust of the lava field. Many of these craters are blast holes formed by steam blasts, while others are subsidence and drain-back craters formed when magma flows back into vents from shallow depths. Many of these craters are funnel-shaped like those on other Oregon cinder cone summits.
According to geologists, the craters have special research value, a kind of museum of basaltic volcanic features that is susceptible to destruction by slab harvesting and associated heavy machinery. As an Outstanding Natural Area in 1982, the area gained additional protection. Several species of amphibians and reptiles, including rattlesnakes, can be found in the High Desert, along with deer, coyotes, and foxes.
At Diamond Craters, three of the most visited sites are located on the west half of the lava field, which can be accessed by road. An explosive origin is revealed by Twin Craters’ rims, which contain large blocks of lava rock measuring 13 feet in diameter. Near the western edge of the lava field, Diamond Pond (an informal name) is a half-acre reed-lined pool that is six feet deep. During the sloughing process, the sides of an explosion crater slowly filled with sediment, forming the pond.
In the space of a few seconds, Diamond Craters can be damaged, despite thousands of years of volcanic activity making this geological wonder. This area is protected by the BLM. Therefore, plants, animals, and rocks should not be destroyed or collected.
Latitude – 43.1°N
Longitude – 118.75°W
Tectonic Setting: Rift Zone Continental Crust (> 25 km)
Summit – 1435 meters
Elevation – 4708 ft
Rock Types: Basalt / Picro Basalt
Last Known Eruption: 5610 BCE
Volcano Type – Volcanic Field