There's no doubt that McArthur-Burney Falls are absolutely spectacular, almost otherworldly. Burney Creek spills over a high ledge of basalt and is joined by myriads of whitewater springs bursting out of the cliff below. It falls into a gigantic deep blue pool of water before flowing down to the reservoir a mile or so downstream.
The geology is interesting. The region includes horizontal flows of basaltic rock along with intervening layers of lake sediments and diatomite. The basalt is jointed and broken up and allows water to sink quickly into the ground (surface streams are surprisingly rare in this wet climate). The diatomite and siltstone layers are impermeable and don't allow water to sink deeper into the ground. It is instead forced to flow sideways until it flows out at a spring such as those in the face of McArthur-Burney Falls
I headed back to camp. Tomorrow was the last day of the field class, and we were going to pay a visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park!