Thursday, October 2, 2014

Geo 730: October 2, Day 640: Depoe Drain

Once again, we're looking over the sea wall in downtown Depoe Bay, to the marine terrace composed of Columbia River Basalt pillows commingled with sediments of the Astoria Formation. Both are of Miocene age. In the lower right, you can see an old drain pipe (also visible in yesterday's photo). I recall looking at this, trying to gauge its diameter for a sense of scale, but I honestly don't remember what I estimated it to be, so I'll just say I think it's a foot or more, maybe 14 to 16 inches.

When I covered this area previously back in April, I alluded to the fact that this terrace is physically accessible. It is, but I hadn't noticed on the previous trip is that there is a sign at the south end, where the terrace is open to the promenade, before it drops below the sea wall, warning that the area is extremely dangerous. So-called sneaker waves- isolated, unusually high and powerful swells- can sweep over this shelf. It's not clear whether trespassing is legally prohibited, so you might not get a ticket. On the other hand, you might get dead. Oregon coastal water is turbulent and very cold; without survival gear, even the fittest swimmer has only minutes before hypothermia sets in. Combine that with the fact that in the event of a large wave, someone unfortunate enough to be caught in it will be battered violently against the rocks. In short, this is not a place you want to go. Rocks from a distance can be frustrating when you want a closer look, but frustrating is better than becoming chilled hamburger.

Photo unmodified. July 15, 2014. FlashEarth Location.

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