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What is the Hole-in-the-Ground in Lake County, OR?


NASA used it to practice for the moon.

The Hole-in-the-Ground is a large crater caused by a volcanic explosion (maar). It is an entire mile across at the furthest point and 490 ft. deep in the middle. There is another maar 8 miles west of this one that is even bigger at 1.1 miles across called the Big Hole. The elevation of this area is 4,650 ft.

This massive hole is one of the many geographic attractions found in Lake County, OR. It can be found off OR-31 around the 22-mile marker. There is a sign saying Hole-in-the-Ground and another entry point saying Outback Station.

Off OR-31 at the second exit, visitors will take dirt roads and come across the Outback Station, which is an RV park, before getting to the Hole-in-the-Ground Vista Point about 2 miles later.

The Hole-in-the-Ground is located within the Deschutes National Forest at the western edge of the Fort Rock basin. It is located about 8 miles northwest of the town of Fort Rock and 24 miles southeast of La Pine.

The Oregon Encyclopedia explains there are twenty sites in Oregon that have close iterations of the name Hole-in-the-Ground, but only the one in Lake County was caused by a volcanic eruption, specifically from the Newberry Volcano.

                                                            
Interestingly, in 1966 NASA astronauts and scientists visited Oregon and stopped by the Hole-in-the-Ground rim as part of their Apollo training sessions, according to the Oregon Encyclopedia. The volcanic landscape was similar to what they thought the moon’s topography would be like.

Once visitors get through exploring and taking pictures of the Hole-in-the-Ground, they can head to Christmas Valley next to check out the Crack-in-the-Ground, which is another volcanic formation that runs 2 miles long and up to 70 ft. deep.


Originally published at NewsBreak

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