Geologists Have Rocks in Their Heads
Part One: the basic geological areas
Oregon is a
fascinating state for the study of geology. Its varied
landscape provides a lifetime of research and enjoyment. In fact, this
so diverse that many of its own residents are unaware that virtually
of land known to Earth is available here, to say nothing of outsiders
convinced the entire state is swathed in clouds and rain all year
weather is shaped by its geology, as are its people and its ecosystem.
discussing culture, biology and weather are outside the
this column, I will, over the next nine months, attempt to acquaint you
each unique geologic province of this great state. Each month I will
column to one region and describe it in some depth. For this month, let
briefly explain each area. By next April, when the snows are melting in
Cascades, I hope you will be ready and excited to explore our great
Cascade Mountains: These mountains are actually two ranges, older and younger, also known as Western and High Cascades, respectively. The High Cascades contain still-active volcanoes.
Deschutes – Columbia: This area
formed when a
huge fissure opened along the Washington – Oregon - Idaho border and
enormous amounts of lava into the area. The cooled and hardened basalt
thousands of feet thick in some areas.
Blue Mountains: These mountains
formed off of
North America and, like the Coast Range and Klamath Mountains,
with the continent.
High Lava Plains: Formed by
when the state’s active volcanoes were farther east than their present
Basin and Range: Fault block
valleys that formed when the area was stretched by tectonic movement.
Owyhee Uplands: Formed in the same fashion as the Basin and Range province, this area is actually part of the Great Basin, which is centered mainly in Nevada. It is separated from the Basin and Range province because, instead of containing enormous fault block mountains and valleys, it is more of a large, flat plateau.
© 2009 S. Skiles