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This Volcano Near Fresno Once Packed A Mammoth Punch

May 29, 2018

The recent images from Hawaii of the eruption of the Kilauea volcano have been captivating.  But closer to home, a much larger eruption once took place not that far from Fresno. Some 765,000 years ago - the blink of an eye in geologic time - a volcanic eruption created the Long Valley Caldera near present day Mammoth Lakes and forever transformed the eastern Sierra landscape. It's just 76 miles from Fresno, and it created a caldera 20 miles long and ten miles wide. While no eruptions are anticipated in the area anytime soon, Mammoth is still a hotbed for geologic activity. To get a better idea of what happened at Long Valley, we spoke with University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience professor Brad Singer, who is the co-author of a recent paper about the eruption. He joined us on Valley Edition to describe what we know about this ancient eruption and about the area today.