Crater Lake Blue

A chemist, Mas Subramanian, and his grad student at the Oregon State University discovered a new blue pigment, similar to ultramarine but more stable. There are not many blue pigments out there–the last one discovered, Cobalt Blue, was discovered in 1802, although impure forms had been used long before. The name of the new pigment, YInMn Blue, is as ugly as the new blue is beautiful. Crayola’s name for its kid-safe version of the new pigment–Bluetiful–causes me to cringe, just a bit.

But to see a blue, a preternaturally blue blue, is one of life’s special experiences. You can’t see it on a screen because screens have limitations. You can’t see it in books–that’s even worse. You need to see an iceberg a few feet away in Tracy Arm Fjord, you need to see the water at midday at Crater Lake.

These snapshots, made with my iPhone 11 Pro Max Max, give you the sense of it.

This post is from a series of articles chronicling a 2020 cross-country trip with my wife and two daughters and a boyfriend, from California to Ohio (to visit family) and Pennsylvania (to drop off my oldest daughter at grad school), and then back. We spent over five weeks on the road during the pandemic.

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