Pine Trees in Lava Field

ASA: 5
EXPOSURE: 3 min. 30 sec.
June 17, 2002, midday,
near Flagstaff, AZ

The eruption of the Sunset Crater volcano back in 1064 covered an 800-square mile area in lava, cinder and ash, destroying the landscape which once was there. For the last 1000 years the land has been in the process of regenerating.

Today, the land around the crater still looks inhospitable.  Black basalt covers the landscape for as far as the eyes can see.  And yet there are pine trees, growing down through the cracks, breaking up the rocks and here and there creating fertile soil.  The pines grow up straight and strong, and stand out dramatically against the blue sky and the black rock. 

1000 years is only the beginning of this growth cycle. And the eruption of the volcano itself is a part of the cycle of growth.  Decay is a process as integral to life as generation.  That destruction is unnatural is a human conception.