National Park Mystery Spot 2 Revealed: This Is One Very Big Basket!
We gave you these six clues to identify National Park Mystery Spot 2:
Fourth planet from the sun
You walk around, I’ll walk in
Hold on to your hat
A vain, overly dramatic, confrontational female singer
Were you able to identify Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley National Park?
Don’t feel too badly if you didn’t. Even people who have visited Ubehebe (pronounced YOU-bee-HEE-bee) might have trouble working with clues like these. That doesn’t mean that the quiz is unfair. It just means that it isn’t a gimmee.
Ubehebe Crater is a large volcanic crater situated at the northern end of the Cottonwood Mountains in the far northern end of Death Valley National Park. A paved spur road off CA 190 takes you there, so it’s very accessible. Lots of people stop by to see Ubehebe before or after they visit Scotty’s Castle, which is only a short drive away. There is convenient parking on the north rim of the crater, spectacular scenery (especially at sunrise or sunset), and several intriguing trails.
Around 2,000 to 6,000 years ago (estimates vary by thousands of years), magma that upwelled near the surface here flashed groundwater into steam and created a gigantic steam explosion called a hydrovolcanic or phreatic eruption (or a “big boom,” if you will). Pulverized rock and larger debris were scattered over a fairly large area, leaving a crater nearly a half-mile wide and more than 500 feet deep.
Native Americans named the crater Ubehebe, which means “big basket in the rock.” Geologists, however, call a hydrovolcanic eruption pit a maar. Ubehebe Crater is one of several maars in the area. The “fourth rock from the sun” is the planet Mars, and Mars is close enough to maars to provide a clue. Or not.
Would you like to go for a hike at Ubehebe? OK; basically, you can either circumnavigate the rim (walk all the way around the crater) or you can hike down to the bottom. If you walk to the bottom ("walk in," that is), remember that the walk back up to the rim can be very taxing. If you hike the rim trail ("walk around," that is) remember to hang on to your hat. Winds at Ubehebe commonly clock in at 50 miles per hour, and that’s 10 mph above gale force.
BTW, a vain, overly dramatic, confrontational female singer is a diva (pronounced DEE-vuh) and the four letter code for Death Valley National Park is DEVA. Close enough?