Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Columbia River Flood Basalts: A Few Pictures

I've been on two trips to the Columbia River Flood Basalts recently, including a really awesome one looking at structure/stratigraphy of the basalts, and the recent landslide there.
These are a few pictures from the other trip - I haven't been able to upload the others.

Pillow basalts that formed when the flows encountered ground water. The surrounding material is palagonite, formed when the basalt fractured into dust as it entered the water.
The Grand Coulee Dam, which supplies a lot of power for Washington, in addition to having a dramatically negative effect on salmon spawning habits. Also home to the funniest laser show ever.
An oddly Grecian structure at the dam overlook.
Porphoritic rhyolite found in a river bed, washed down from Missoula Flood deposits.
A lava flow, complete with columnar-jointed bottom layer and hackly-jointed top layer. The top layer cools most quickly, which leads to the imperfect jointing. The bottom layer is insulated, and thus cools slowly, allowing columns to form.
Dry Falls, the largest waterfall ever. During the Missoula Floods, this was about ten times larger than Niagra Falls.

My week consists of: spanish, physics, calculus, and chemistry finals, moving my entire apartment into a storage unit in one day, annnnd moving to Craters of the Moon, via the John Day Fossil Beds.
It's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it, right?