Black Point Fissures

In this video, Yu and Funk are canyoneering – sort of. This crack in the earth is one in a series of fissures that runs ruffly north-south along the top of Black Point. Black Point is the large bluff, black on its south facing slope, that rises from the north shore of Mono lake. “Black Point is a “Surtseyan”-style tuff cone that erupted approximately 13,300 years ago beneath glacial Lake Russell.” Fr more details, see this paper.

It is unclear whether the sub-lake-surface volcano erupted into liquid water or into ice. What is clear is that the water, liquid or otherwise, caused rapid cooling that produced a rounded top on what would have been a classic conical volcano. And, during the accelerated cooling process, large cracks or fissures formed along the flattened top of this now exposed volcano.

Black Point may be the only completely exposed, formally underwater volcano in the world! Just another amazing and unique natural feature located in the Eastern Sierra region. Check it out when your arms are burnt out and you need a rest day on your next climbing trip. Or, in our case, when the wind is raging and skiing in the high country is out of the question.

Here is a link for a  decent map of the area.

Click “continue reading” for some stills of our time spent scrambling around in these fissures.



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