04lava_field.jpg The landscape around Dee Wright Observatory is the product of Oregon's volcanic activity. Most of the lava flows in the McKenzie Pass area are "aa" (a Hawaiian term pronounced "ah ah") or block lava. It is characterized by rough, jagged surfaces. AA lava contains little gas, is very viscous and prone to breaking up as it cools. Pine, juniper, and fir grow out of the barren landscape. Although they probably won't grow to the heights of their woodland cousins, these trees have extensive root systems that helps them survive in such an extreme environment. Dead trees, that dot the landscape, are bleach white and stand for many years like skeletons on the black lava.