Tag Archives: Inyo National Forest

Are these the youngest mountains in North America?

As a geographer, I am always on the look-out for strange and unusual facts about our world. A Ranger in the visitor center by Mono Lake threw a surprising one out at me a few weeks ago. Pointing at a series of craters extending south of Mono Lake he announced that they made up the youngest mountain range in North America — with the last eruption happening about 500 years ago.

Mono Inyo Craters -- the youngest mountains in north America?
Mono Inyo Craters — the youngest mountains in north America?

I wonder.

I realize I don’t fully understand what constitutes a mountain in America, and hence a range. Does it matter when it started to build or when it stopped? A quick check of the internet has articles from wikipedia on mega-mountains — the Appalachians, the Tetons, and such — all with justifiable claims to being the youngest.

Regardless, this chain of craters — the Mono-Inyo craters — looked fascinating from afar and I can’t wait to go back.

What do you think? Accurate claim or bogus?