The real voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes. (Proust)
This month's favorite geologic places.
Favorite Places: Discovering PNW Geology. Each month three new places will be featured here, along with links to finding them. All are from the forth-coming book, Field Guide to Pacific Northwest Geology (Timber Press).
Clarno Palisades, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Columbia River basalt dikes
The White Bluffs at Hanford Reach
The towering cliffs of the Clarno Palisades are volcanic mudflows about 45 million years in age. They reveal fossils and leaves of a much warmer, Eocene climate when bananas and palm trees grew in north central Oregon, and the Northwest's coast was about where the Cascade crest is today. The Clarno Palisades are part of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and are located about 40 miles northeast of Madras, Oregon. For more information, visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and Oregon Paleo Lands Institute's websites. FIND SITE ON GOOGLE MAPS
The basalts that line the Columbia River Gorge, and cover much of the Columbia Plateau, erupted from elongate vents--10 to 25-mile-long cracks in the ground--about 16 to 15 million years ago. Most of these vents were in northeastern Oregon. Many are remote and hard to find. But along the Grande Ronde River, on Route 3, 30 miles north of Enterprise, Oregon, several of these dikes -- the remaining solid basalt that solidified in the narrow vents as the eruption stopped---stand like sentinels. For more information on the CRB and dikes, go to the USGS Cascade Volcano Observatory CRB web page. FIND SITE ON GOOGLE MAPS
The White Bluffs of Hanford Reach are fragile Pliocene lakebed sediments about 3 million years in age. The extend for more than 50 miles along the undammed free-flowing segment of the Columbia that flows through Hanford Nuclear Reservation National Monument. Ironically, the cliffs themselves represent a hazard to salmon--they are prone to landslides, sloughing sandy sediment int the Columbia. For more information, visit the Hanford Reach site. FIND SITE ON GOOGLE MAPS