the faces of Mt Shasta

I’m fascinated by this string of volcanoes forming our Cascade Mountain Range and this visit to Mt Shasta has me attempting to learn more.shasta-9414This first image was taken near Yreka, North West of the mountain. shasta-9417This closer look shows off the lower peak named Shastina. From Wikipedia:

Shastina is the highest satellite cone of Mount Shasta, and one of four overlapping volcanic cones [you’ll see those below in the last Shasta/Shastina shot] which together form the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. At 12,330 ft (3,758 m), Shastina is taller than Mount Adams and would rank as the third highest volcano in the Cascades behind Mount Rainier and Shasta were it not nestled on the western flank of its higher neighbor.shasta-9423As I drove south, toward Weed, you can see the tip of Shastina from another angle, now pointed almost directly at me.shasta-9429Near Weed, Shastina has shifted off to my left .shasta-9440This last shot, taken somewhere near McCloud is due South of the mountains. It’s easy to see the lower peaks of Shastina (the four overlapping volcanic cones ) to the left of Mt Shasta (with clouds gathering at its peak). I’m awed at the forces it must have taken to form this magnificent mountain. Mt Shasta last erupted in 1786. Apparently the historic interval between eruptions is between 600-800 years. shasta-9435For a bit of added interest, there’s Black Butte (above) just to the west of Mt Shasta. Wiki calls it a parasitic satellite cone of Mount Shasta. The lava domes were extruded at the foot of the cone of Shastina following the period of its major eruptions about 9,000–10,000 years ago. This entire region has plenty of evidence of volcanic activity. But it all looks pretty peaceful now.

You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away — all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that’s happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive gas, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
― Michael CrichtonJurassic Park / Congo


42 thoughts on “the faces of Mt Shasta

    • We certainly have quite a few of them. They are very lovely, but so is the ocean. As much as I love mountain scenes, the ocean has a special place in my heart. Then again a change is always good.


  1. “The earth will not miss us.” It would probably be glad to get rid of us. 🙂 Great shots of this impressive volcano, Gunta. Good that these aren’t about to erupt again any time soon.


    • It’s certainly quite the quote. Takes us down a needed peg I would think. I suspect that Mother Nature does pretty much what she pleases, even to scheduling eruption, so I wouldn’t bank on the scientific predictions. They are monitoring a bulge in one of the “Sisters” further north in Oregon. So that could be the next one after St Helens.


  2. As I scrolled down the images just became more and more vivid. I must admit that I felt just a smidgen more drawn to image 5 but they are all so fabulous Gunta! 🙂


  3. Your photos are just mesmerizing. I feel like I am there. The quote from “Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park / Congo” this is then a fictional written line from the movie? I was digging it : )


  4. Your images are breathtaking reminders of a past visit I made. The first image made the hair on my arms stand up because we must have been in the same spot – it’s exactly the way I remember it from childhood.


    • Not too surprising since the origins are pretty much the same. They are both part of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. They tend to make me feel pretty insignificant in the scheme of things… and put all my petty troubles in perspective.


    • I suspect that’s part of the fascination when reading and learning about what momma nature can do. Just seeing those magnificent mountains and thinking about how they were formed is awe inspiring. I couldn’t help but wonder how many folks would bother plowing through the quote.


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