Eagle Lake Ice Caves

Ice Caves
The ice caves was featured on the cover of Susanville’s weekly TV guide, August, 1965

Exploring lava beds, which there is plenty around Northeastern California, there is no telling what a person might find. The Brockman Flat Lava Beds on the west side of Eagle Lake is no exception.

In the early 1950s the Chico State Biological field study set up operations at Spaulding Tract, Eagle Lake. It was in the summer of 1951, that several students explored the lava beds to the south of Spauldings and made their initial discovery of a ice/lava cave.

In 1954, John Wesley Noble penned an article in Collier’s Magazine, The Lake That Time Forgot. The article featured many peculiarities found at Eagle Lake. Noble wrote: A group of Chico graduate students were exploring a huge shore side cavern where Indian tribes hid from avenging white men. Suddenly the biologists’ flashlights flickered on a buff colored insect crawling over the icy black rocks. They captured it, but neither their biology professor nor local 0ld-timers could tell what it is.

“Weeks of research finally identified the insect a member of gryllobottoda, a rare ice age cricket-cockroach which lived in America when Pleistocene ice sheets covered more than half the continent. No one seems to know what the insects eat in the icy dark caverns. They should have been sensible and departed when the glaciers receded 20,000 years ago. But here they are, living their refrigerated lives in the caves near the lake.”

The caves once obscure began appearing on maps during the 1950s and 1960s, in addition to numerous write-ups in travel magazines, but the interest has since faded.

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