Monday, November 3, 2014

Geo 730: November 3, Day 672: Rooted in Geology

The factor that drew settlers to Oregon was its rich farmland, but the factor that shaped the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains was geology. Skipping inland and north from the previous post, we find... Yes! More basalt. Specifically, more Columbia River Basalt. Here it forms a resistant lip over which the Willamette River pours, creating the largest waterfall by volume in the Pacific Northwest (see note). That sort of hydraulic head is a wonderful source of cheap power- early on, mechanical, later, as you can see from the sign, electrical.

Note: Celilo Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge, was the most voluminous in the PNW, and it certainly deserves the title, but it was inundated by the construction of the Dalles Dam. I'm very sorry to have missed it. Among other interesting trivia, "Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community on the North American continent until 1957..."

Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location.

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