Many of the visitors to Central Oregon are geologist, teachers and students who are drawn to the area by the unique landscape. The area of Central Oregon shows that volcanoes dominate the landscape and that their eruptions have been formed the geologic features of the area for the past 45 million years.
There is such a concentration of volcanic geologic features in Central Oregon that it is difficult to determine where to begin. The youngest known eruption in central Oregon produced the Big Obsidian Flow in Newberry Crater 1300 years ago. There are no signs that volcanism will let up in the future as the area is capable of unexpected eruptions.
Once covered by warm seas, the area of Central Oregon experienced huge eruptions, which created the formations at John Day and Clarno. Next, the eruptions caused large amounts of lava to flow over the landscape east of the Cascades. Sufficient time has now passed that plants and animals have established themselves in this same area.
Everywhere you travel, you are reminded of the volcanic beginnings of Central Oregon. The Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Jefferson are all the remains of active volcanoes. At several of the mountain passes, you can see miles of rough, black lava. Other areas of interest are the Newberry Volcano, the Newberry Crater and Obsidian, Lava Butte, Lava Flows, Lava Tubes, the Lava Forest, and the volcanic ash, which is the base of much of the soil in Central Oregon.
Geologists predict that future eruptions will most likely occur at Newberry Volcano or in the Three Sisters area.