Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oregon Geo-sites: Comments and a Request for Help

I've started listing out Oregon sites of particular geological significance, and am beginning to realize it'll be no small task. In terms of reaching 100, no problem. In terms of ranking... well... problem. In terms of "uniqueness," again, problem. I think what I'll do is aim at 150 to 200 sites, which will take some time in and of itself, then cull the list down to 100. I'll list them by physiographic province, then follow with my own personal ranking. In other words, if I was to recommend to a geologically interested person sites to visit, the order in which I would recommend a site, assuming travel schedule, distance, and time were not issues (though of course, they always are). I will list all the sites that don't make the top 100 as unranked runners up.

Despite how it may seem, there are lots of places in Oregon I've never been, including places with great geology. Off the top of my head, a few examples include:
  • Crest of Steens Mountain
  • Smith Rocks State Park
  • Leslie Gulch and Owyhee Canyon
  • Jordan Craters
  • Saddle Mountain
  • Richardson's Rock Ranch
...and I don't doubt there are many more. As I said, those are just a few great spots that popped into my head in a few moments of thought, which I'd like to visit, but have never quite worked into other trips. I'm aiming at particular, rather specific spots, though some areas, such as Crater Lake and Newberry Volcano have dozens, if not hundreds, of noteworthy sites in and of themselves. Given the futility of trying to list all the important features of areas such as those two examples, I'll just list them as single locations.

This is prompted, in part, by Callan Bentley's geomeme of two posts back, and in particular by my exasperation at Lava River Cave as one of only two Oregon sites listed. There's nothing wrong with Lava River Cave, and it will definitely make my list. It's the longest tube in Oregon, it's developed, so anyone in moderately good physical shape can enjoy it, and it's easy to get to and find. On the other hand, I can think of three other lava tubes that I think have more to offer than this one (I will be including these in my final list as well). They are, in descending order, Derrick Cave, Wind Cave, and Malheur Cave. The first has an amazing slew of cool features, the second is breath-taking in its sheer size/cross-sectional area, and the third has an underground lake as its terminus. If I had to pick my top two Oregon sites, I would cheat and pick three, with Newberry Volcano and Crater Lake in a tie for first, and the Columbia River Gorge in second. NV and CL are, in broad terms, very similar. Much of what one can see at CL can only be seen at a distance, though there are things to see there that aren't visible at NV. On the other hand, there's plenty to see at NV that's not at CL, and it's easier to get hands-on there. Toss-up. (Honestly, though, if I wasn't inclined to cheat, I'd have to give CL the nod on the basis of its scientific importance.)

The reason I'm posting this heads-up, though, is to request help. I'll probably spend a couple of weeks or more working on this. Maybe much more. If you've spent time geologizing in Oregon, please leave a comment on this post, or @ me on Twitter (@lockwooddewitt), with sites that struck you as particularly geologically awesome, important, or beautiful. As I said, there are plenty of Oregon spots I know are important, but nevertheless have not had the opportunity to visit. I'll be relying on Geology of Oregon to fill in some of the gaps, but I am curious to hear what others have to say, and it will help me avoid missing sites that deserve to be included.

Thanks ahead of time for any help given.

Saturd80's: I've Got the Vapors! Edition

"Turning Japanese" was their big hit, but I was very fond of the entire album, "New Clear Days." It would definitely rank in my top 100 rock albums- the phrase "waiting for the weekend" in previous meme post put me in mind of the group- perhaps in the top 50. I'm always frustrated when a "one hit wonder" group's other music is overlooked despite the fact that it's pretty damned good. Turning Japanese:
Waiting for the Weekend:
Letter From Hiro:

101 Geo-sites Meme

Callan Bentley started this meme a few days ago, and I've been waiting for the weekend to take a stab at it. More accurately, I'd been hoping to clean out my RSS feed, but that's beginning to look like a lost cause. I'll mostly withhold comment on the quality of the list; I haven't read the book on which it's based, and the author may have justification for his choices. However, in a lot of ways, this strikes me as a rather hit-and-miss representation of what the US has to offer, geologically. I'm half tempted to create a list of 100 must-see geo-sites in Oregon, just to show where I'd rank Lava River Cave. It would certainly be on the list, but it would be half way down or more. All that said, the rules are typical: bold the ones you've visited. I'll only bold the ones I'm absolutely certain I've been to, and append a comment to ones that I'm either uncertain of, or don't really remember.

1. Wetumpka Crater, Alabama
2. Exit Glacier, Alaska
3. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
4. Meteor Crater, Arizona
5. Monument Valley, Arizona
6. Prairie Creek Pipe, Arkansas
7. Wallace Creek, California
8. Racetrack Playa, California
9. Devils Postpile, California
10. Rancho La Brea, California
11. El Capitan, California
12. Boulder Flatirons, Colorado
13. Interstate 70 Roadcut, Colorado
14. Florissant Fossil Beds, Colorado
15. Dinosaur Trackway, Connecticut
16. Wilmington Blue Rocks, Delaware
17. Devil’s Millhopper, Florida
18. Stone Mountain, Georgia
19. Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
20. Borah Peak, Idaho
21. Menan Buttes, Idaho
22. Great Rift, Idaho (Possibly... is this the Great Rift in the Craters of the Moon? If so, yes)
23. Valmeyer Anticline, Illinois
24. Hanging Rock Klint, Indiana
25. Fort Dodge Gypsum, Iowa
26. Monument Rocks, Kansas
27. Ohio Black Shale, Kentucky
28. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
29. Four Corners Roadcut, Kentucky
30. Avery Island, Louisiana
31. Schoodic Point, Maine
32. Calvert Cliffs, Maryland
33. Purgatory Chasm, Massachusetts
34. Nonesuch Potholes, Michigan (I know I've been very close, but not sure)
35. Quincy Mine, Michigan
36. Grand River Ledges, Michigan
37. Sioux Quartzite, Minnesota
38. Thomson Dikes, Minnesota
39. Soudan Mine, Minnesota
40. Petrified Forest, Mississippi
41. Elephant Rocks, Missouri
42. Grassy Mountain Nonconformity, Missouri
43. Chief Mountain, Montana
44. Madison Slide, Montana
45. Butte Pluton, Montana
46. Quad Creek Quartzite, Montana
47. Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska
48. Scotts Bluff, Nebraska
49. Crow Creek Marlstone, Nebraska
50. Sand Mountain, Nevada
51. Great Unconformity, Nevada
52. Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
53. Palisades Sill, New Jersey
54. White Sands, New Mexico
55. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
56. Shiprock Peak, New Mexico
57. State Line Outcrop, New Mexico
58. American Falls, New York
59. Taconic Unconformity, New York
60. Gilboa Forest, New York
61. Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
62. South Killdeer Mountain, North Dakota
63. Hueston Woods, Ohio
64. Big Rock, Ohio
65. Kelleys Island, Ohio (I have been told I visited here, but I was too young to remember)
66. Interstate 35 Roadcut, Oklahoma
67. Mount Mazama, Oregon
68. Lava River Cave, Oregon
69. Drake’s Folly, Pennsylvania
70. Hickory Run, Pennsylvania
71. Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
72. Beavertail Point, Rhode Island
73. Crowburg Basin, South Carolina
74. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
75. Mammoth Site, South Dakota
76. Pinnacles Overlook, South Dakota
77. Reelfoot Scarp, Tennessee
78. Enchanted Rock, Texas
79. Capitan Reef, Texas
80. Paluxy River Tracks, Texas
81. Upheaval Dome, Utah
82. Checkerboard Mesa, Utah
83. San Juan Goosenecks, Utah
84. Salina Canyon Unconformity, Utah
85. Bingham Stock, Utah
86. Whipstock Hill, Vermont
87. Great Falls, Virginia
88. Natural Bridge, Virginia
89. Millbrig Ashfall, Virginia
90. Catoctin Greenstone, Virginia
91. Mount St. Helens, Washington
92. Dry Falls, Washington
93. Seneca Rocks, West Virginia
94. Roche-A-Cri Mound, Wisconsin
95. Van Hise Rock, Wisconsin
96. Amnicon Falls, Wisconsin
97. Green River, Wyoming
98. Devils Tower, Wyoming
99. Fossil Butte, Wyoming
100. Steamboat Geyser, Wyoming
101. Specimen Ridge, Wyoming (Not sure... I've been to the place where there's a petrified, upright tree trunk at YNP, but dunno if that's the same place.)

So that's a total of 16... a pretty weak showing. But as I said, it strikes me as a pretty weak list.