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Ring Dike Craters north of Odessa, Washington
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Rose Red
N 47° 20.001 W 118° 41.531
11T E 372154 N 5243597
Quick Description: The area north of Odessa is dotted with geological oddities: ring dike craters left in the aftermath of the Glacial Lake Missoula Ice Age Floods.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 8/22/2011 12:21:31 PM
Waymark Code: WMCCM8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Blue J Wenatchee
Views: 6

Long Description:
The area north of Odessa is dotted with geological oddities: ring dike craters left in the aftermath of the Glacial Lake Missoula Ice Age Floods. The craters range in appearance from a simple deep hole in the ground to a vast depression a quarter mile around in the steppe landscape.

Ring dike craters were formed by huge pools of still molten basalt lava that lay beneath a cooled and hardened surface layer of lava. These underground molten pools erupted through cracks in the hard layer, creating rings of "dikes". The Ice Age Floods scoured out the softer fractured rock and soil within the dike rings, leaving behind the circular walls and central mesas that make up the ring dike craters. Some craters have filled with water, forming shallow ponds.

Drive north from Odessa on Highway 21. In 5.2 miles, as you drive over a rise, there is a giant ring dike on a gentle slope directly ahead. This crater is called Cinnamon Roll. In another 0.5 miles turn east on Trejbal Back Road, which in a very short distance approaches within a few hundred feet of the dike rim of this crater. Cinnamon Roll Crater is unique--rather than lying flat, it is tipped at an angle that permits a full view of its ring, moat, and core structure.

Return to Highway 21 and in a few hundred yards farther north turn east on Coffeepot Road. Shortly, signs to the north identify Amphitheater Crater, a semicircular wall 900 feet in diameter.

In another 0.3 miles is Wild Garden Crater, a smaller outcrop with an irregular, fractured walls surrounding a core of grass and sagebrush.

Continue north on Highway 21 for 0.7 mile, then pull off on a wide shoulder on the west side of the road near a sign announcing Cache Crater. From your vehicle, look to the northeast: the hillside has two more ring dikes, Rock Rose and Hidden Craters. Both are reachable by cross-country hikes of less than a mile.

Hike 0.5 mile northeast from the parking area to the Amphitheater Crater--one of the bigger pits to explore. There is a faint trail in places and game trails in other areas.

Return to your vehicle but keep walking northwest for a 0.5-mile loop to Rose Crater. As you explore the lands around the holes, enjoy the rich sagebrush ecosystems and the presence of some beautiful birds. This area boasts a sizeable population of horned larks.

After enjoying nearly a mile of walking around the Amphitheater and Rose Craters, drive northwest another 0.3 mile on Highway 21 and turn left into the parking access for the Cache Crater Trail.

Cache Crater Trail winds 0.2 mile to a deep pit of a crater. Though the distance is short, the beauty is great. Enjoy the wildflowers and the wildlife including some mule deer, quail and hawks.

There are more craters on the Lakeview Ranch (BLM property) – see Alan Bauer and Dan Nelson’s "Best Desert Hikes" for directions and trip descriptions to Lakeview Ranch and Marge & Ted Mueller's "Fire, Faults and Floods" for directions to various ring dikes within the Lakeview Ranch. The information for this Waymark was taken from Mueller's book: pp. 116-119.
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Rose Red visited Ring Dike Craters north of Odessa, Washington 8/8/2011 Rose Red visited it