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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Ape Cave, Washington"
Includes ... Ape Cave ...
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.


Ape Cave ...
Ape Cave, at 13,042 feet long (nearly 2.5 miles), is the third longest lava tube in North America. It hosts a year-round temperature of 42°F. The lava tube was formed 1,900 years ago by an unusual basaltic eruption of Mount St. Helens volcano.

Formation ...
"The formation of Ape Cave marks an unusual period in Mount St. Helens' eruptive history in that it is the only known basaltic eruption of the volcano. Eruptions of fluid basaltic lava, much like those in Hawaii, are rare occurrences in the Cascade Mountain Range. The Cascades usually erupt lava of a thicker consistency. When this type of magma is coupled with suspended gases, explosive eruptions tend to occur. The eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, exemplifies this tendency.

About 2,000 years ago, fluid basaltic lava poured down the southern flank of the volcano. As the lava flowed, chunks of the lavaís surface cooled, crashed and fused together creating a hardened crust. In turn, the crust insulated the molten lava beneath, allowing it to remain fluid and travel down to the Lewis River Valley. The hot flowing lava began melting into the pre-existing rock and soil. This thermal erosion deepened and widened the channel of the flow. The level of lava in the tube rose and fell as the eruption surged and slowed, contributing to the unique contours of the walls. During this eruptive period, hot fluid lava pulsed through the tube for months, possibly up to a year, until the eruption subsided. As a result of this rare eruption, a spectacular 13,042 foot (3976m) long lava tube, the third longest in North America, was created. "


Source:    U.S. Forest Service website, 2014, "Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Ape Cave Interpretive Site".


Naming ...
"Ape Cave was discovered in 1947 by a logger named Lawrence Johnson. However, the cave was not explored until the early 1950's when a scout troop, led by Harry Reese, lowered a team of scouts down a 17-foot overhang to the cave floor. Leaving footprints where no one ever had, these explorers were able to travel through a pristine lava tube full of fragile formations. Ape Cave was named by the Scout Troop in honor of their sponsor, the St. Helens Apes. This local group was made up primarily of foresters. The sponsorís name, St. Helens Apes, may have come from an old term used for foresters in the area, "brush apes," or from the legend of Bigfoot."


Source:    U.S. Forest Service website, 2014, "Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Ape Cave Interpretive Site".

Views ...

Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Entrance, Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Opening, Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Stairs, Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.
Image, 2014, Ape Cave, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Looking back out, Ape Cave, Washington. Image taken September 4, 2014.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    U.S. Forest Service website, 2014, "Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Ape Cave Interpretive Site";   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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September 2014