Vine Maple in Big Lava Flow

Glowing beauty of Vine Maple set against the dark flow of aa lava. (Philip A. Knouf)

Glowing beauty of Vine Maple set against the dark flow of aa lava. (Philip A. Knouf)

 

The Big Lava Flow is in the Giford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state.  In the fall of 2011 I was fortunate to have ideal cloudy and misty conditions for photographing this fiery red Vine Maple bush growing out of the lava.  The fall color of Vine Maple tends to be quite reddish and almost scarlet in drier and sunny locations vs. shady areas where the colors tend to be mostly yellow and gold.  The lava flow pictured in this image is called ʻaʻā type which tends to be very sharp and crumbly.  From WikipediaʻAʻā (also spelled aa, aʻa, ʻaʻa, and a-aa; play /ˈɑː.ɑː/ or /ˈɑːʔɑː/, from Hawaiian [ʔəˈʔaː][6] meaning “stony rough lava”, but also to “burn” or “blaze”) is one of three basic types of flow lava. ʻAʻā is basaltic lava characterized by a rough or rubbly surface composed of broken lava blocks called clinker.  There are numerous collapsed lava tubes nearby to this location.

The location for this image is midway along Forest Route 66 which skirts the eastern edge of the Big Lava Flow.  This route provides ample opportunities to capture similar scenes including the lighter color of vine maples on the eastern edge of the road in the forest understory.

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