Return to Earth From Space Home
Earth from Space logo Image Information Earth from Space logo

Display a Screen Layout for Printing

IMAGE: gray corner       IMAGE: gray corner
  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS018-E-5321 Date: Oct. 2008
Geographic Region: USA-IDAHO

Ordering information for space photography
IMAGE: gray corner     IMAGE: gray corner

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner
  View Low-Resolution Image  
  Hell's Half Acre Lava Field, Idaho

Located in eastern Idaho, the Hell's Half Acre Lava Field is the easternmost large field associated with the Snake River Plain, which arcs across the center of the state. Geologists think that the abundant lava flows and other volcanic rocks of the Snake River Plain were created when the North American tectonic plate passed southwest over a mantle plume, a fixed "hotspot" in the Earth's mantle (the layer of Earth below the crust).The hotspot melted the rock of the tectonic plate as the plate passed over it, and magma rose to the surface.

Volcanism attributed to the hotspot began approximately 15 million years ago in the western portion of the Plain, with lava fields becoming younger to the east. With lavas erupted approximately 4,100 years ago, Hell's Half Acre is one of the youngest lava fields. This pattern-older lavas in the west and younger lavas in the east-reveals the direction the plate was moving. (If the plate had been moving the opposite direction over the hotspot, areas to the east would have encountered it first, and the eastern lavas would have been older.) Today, the center of hotspot volcanism is located in Yellowstone National Park, where it feeds the extensive geyser system.

Portions of the Hell's Half Acre Lava Field are a National Natural Landmark and Wilderness Study Area. This detailed astronaut photograph illustrates the forbidding landscape of the basaltic lava field. The complex ridge patterns of the black to grey-green flow surfaces include both smooth, ropy Pahoehoe and blocky 'A'a lava. Regions of tan soil surrounded by lava are known as kipukas. These "islands" are windows onto the older underlying soil surface. The kipukas are used for agriculture (both crops and grazing); several green fields are visible to the northwest of Interstate Highway 15 (image right). Light to dark mottling in the kipukas is most likely due to variations in moisture and disturbance by agricultural activities.
Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 234k
Mission: ISS018  
Roll - Frame: E - 5321
Geographical Name: USA-IDAHO  
Center Lat x Lon: 43.4N x 112.3W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: N2
Camera Tilt: 13   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 800  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: S   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 892  
Date: 20081024   YYYYMMDD
Time: 184438   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 44.1N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 112.3W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 172   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 188   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 34   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views:  
Water Views:  
Atmosphere Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

Home Page
Home Page
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Science &
Remote Sensing

NASA meatball logo
This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
ESRS logo