I love it when I cut open a rock and find a beautiful landscape looking back at me! Here is a freshly cabbed piece of Amethyst Sage Agate from Nevada, it looks like the trees and the wintertime shoreline of my favorite fishing lake!
The Columbia River Gorge is a place of ungraspable beauty, and of cataclysmic geology. Glacial outburst megafloods (the Missoula Floods) carved the cliffs and caused landslides (Rooster Rock), sculpting the preexisting rock. The Gorge’s steep walls are made largely of Columbia River Basalt, a series of unfathomable floods of basalt that erupted and carpeted the Pacific Northwest, forming the Columbia Plateau. These taken on Tuesday the 13th, just before snow blanketed the area, but just after dusting the peaks, from Crowne Point’s Vista House.
Smith Rock in Oregon. Smith Rock is a world-class climbing destination, partly due to the rigid nature of its rock. It is made of volcanic tuff, or fallout from volcanic eruptions. It also, by chance, forms the northwestern corner of the Prineville Caldera, a “super volcano” (God I hate that term) some twenty miles across east to west, that formed here between twenty and thirty million years ago. The valley and plains that surround the city of Prineville are all part of the center of this volcanic caldera, and the hills around it are craggy from the tuff produced by this eruption.
More #green greatness for #stpatricksday! One of our favorites - the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon (photos by Bob Wick, BLM).
Designated in 2000, the Cascade-Siskiyou was the first national monument in the country set aside solely to protect biodiversity, with some rare, some endangered, and some endemic (found only here) species. The convergence of three geologically distinct mountain ranges resulted in an area with remarkable biological diversity. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail meanders 19 miles through the monument, offering challenging hikes with stunning views. Recreational activities - such as hiking, fishing and horseback riding - are allowed throughout the monument with consideration for sensitive plant and animal communities.
I cannot wait to be back in big sky country. We are planning to apprentice on an organic farm in northern MT next summer to gain some knowledge on growing in cold climates. The soils are especially of interest to me because they were formed from glaciolacustrine deposits, or in other words, sediments left behind by glacial meltwater lakes. Incidentally, my favorite area of Montana was the source of the geological event(s) that created the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge about 15,000 years ago. That is, the Missoula Floods that occurred at the end of the last ice age. At that time, northern MT was covered in glaciers and formed a sort of “ice dam” to the Glacial Lake Missoula. It overflowed periodically over the course of 2,000 years, sending roughly 10 cubic kilometers (or 2,642,000,000,000 gallons) of water flowing over Washington and Oregon at speeds up to 80 mph!