basalt columns columbia river gorge
Basalt columns seen on Porto Santo Island, Portugal. The geologists assigned the geologic names and elevation of formations. Mauna Loa (1859, 0.27m3, 10 months, 4 m3/s), and 3. Volume of each formation, in cubic kilometers, is given in parentheses. Black dots separate formations. Few flows of the Saddle Mountains Basalt are as widely distributed, but one flow, the Pomona Member, did reach the Pacific Ocean, and it crops out along the lower Columbia River. Basalt is formed from volcanic lava. Photographed in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington State, USA. Our materials can be found by product name and type, use or capability, and geologic source. Groundwater data for Willamette River Basin, Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. Figure 3. Below are map products associated with this project. These columns can be tall – extending throughout thick flow units like we see along the Columbia River Gorge in the Columbia River Flood Basalt. Some of the more voluminous flows followed the ancestral Columbia River across the Cascade arc, Puget-Willamette … In all, more than 300 individual large (average volume 580 cubic km!) The Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) consists of a thick sequence of Miocene flood basalt that covered northern Oregon, eastern Washington, and western Idaho between 17 and 6 million years ago. Reidel, S.P., Johnson, V.G., and Spane, F.A., 2002, Natural gas storage in basalt aquifers of the Columbia Basin, Pacific Northwest USA--A guide to site characterization: Richland, Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Volcanism began about 17.5 million years ago and ceased about 6 million years ago. Although CRBG eruptive activity spanned an 11-million-year period from 17 million to 6 million years ago, most of the CRBG flows were emplaced over 2.5 million years, from 17 to 14.5 million years ago. Between interflow zones, the dense flow interiors are relatively impermeable. About 85% of the province is made of the Grande Ronde Basalt with a volume of 149,000 cubic km (enough lava to bury all of the continental United States under 12 m of lava!) The CRBG has been divided into six formations: Imnaha Basalt, Picture Gorge Basalt, Prineville Basalt, Grande Ronde Basalt, Wanapum Basalt, and Saddle Mountains Basalt by Swanson and others (1979). With detailed study and mapping of the CRBG, revisions are made in the classification of individual basalt flows. the proximity of the fissure vents to the tectonic boundary between accreted terranes made of thinner, denser oceanic lithosphere and the more competent lithospheres of the old North American Plate. Sites in Washington for the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. Below are data or web applications associated with this project. The number, extent, and thickness of flows vary depending on many factors, including proximity to and volume of eruption, lava viscosity, cooling process, erosion, and topography over which the lava flowed. Within the detailed subdivisions of the CRBG, multiple flows may occur. Map based on Hooper (1997). A long-term goal is to compile geochemical and paleomagnetic data, and stratigraphic interpretations of the CRBG over its extent in three States. The Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System (CPRAS) covers about 44,000 square miles of eastern Oregon and Washington and western Idaho. As the molten rock cools it contracts, causing tensional forces that pull open a series of vertical fractures between hexagonal columns of solidified basalt. The naming convention used in this website is based on work by Swanson and others (1979a) with revisions by subsequent investigators. Click on a pin on the map to see more information. Miocene flood basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group inundated eastern Washington, Oregon, and adjacent Idaho between 17 and 6 Ma. It possessed remarkable overhanging columnar basalt cliffs that allowed Latourell Creek to do a 249ft free-falling plunge with no contact with most of the underlying cliff, making it in one of the more unique waterfalls in the gorge. Figure 1. Data from Wright and others (in press) presented in Swanson and others (1989). Below are multimedia items associated with this project. Hooper (1997) identified three major factors: 1. the Yellowstone hot spot;2. thinning of the continental lithosphere as a result of spreading behind the Cascade arc; and3. The geologic logs and geochemical tables are presented as received from the geologists who interpreted the geologic data. On right are names of members in the Grande Ronde Basalt and (above Vantage horizon) Wanapum Basalt. Area covered by Columbia River flood basalts shown in gray. Although permeable interflow zones may yield large amounts of water initially, continued large withdrawals result in declines in water levels because of low storage properties and limited recharge of water reaching these productive zones. No data point selected. Representative samples are given below. Where the interbed is identified, the interbed name, for example, "Vantage," is used. Latourell Falls was a gorgeous waterfall that had the distinction of being the closest major waterfall of the Columbia River Gorge to the City of Portland.. Map of Imnaha Basalt coverage area Modified from Alt and Hyndman, 1985. Perhaps the most famous basalt lava flow in the world is the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, in which the vertical joints form polygonal columns and give the impression of having been artificially constructed. Modified from Alt and Hyndman, 1985. Picture Gorge Basalts are a subgroup of the Columbia River Basalts, which … The pattern of folding and faulting in the CRBG is consistent with contemporary deformation measured by GPS and provides an integrated picture of geologic strain in populated areas. Photo of dike in the Chief Joseph dike swarm cutting across Grande Ronde Basalt. Because the basalt lavas were typically sheet flows, they provided an ideal regional time horizon to understand paleoenvironments, paleodrainage systems during eruptions, and evolution of fault and fold structures. Some eruptions covered thousands of square miles, sending flows hundreds of miles from their source. This website contains stratigraphic information on the CRBG that is useful in many types of studies, including hydrogeologic, basin evolution, and geologic hazard investigations. Hundreds of vents have been recognized and mapped. Almost everything about this volcanic province is impressive. The three counties jointly formed the Columbia Basin Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) in... Below are publications associated with this project. The Columbia River Flood Basalt Province forms a plateau of 164,000 square kilometers between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains. The Columbia River Flood Basalt Province forms a plateau of 164,000 square kilometers between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains. The total volume of the volcanic province is 175,000 cubic km. The permeable interflow zones within the Columbia River Basalt Group are an important source of water supply in the Pacific Northwest. Columbia River Blue Basalt. The Paso Basin is near the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data, Columbia Plateau Groundwater Availability Study, Groundwater Data for Sites in Middle Columbia River Basin (Washington State), CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Data for Sites in Eastern Columbia River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Data for Sites in Middle Columbia River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Data for Sites in Willamette River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Sites in the Eastern Columbia River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Sites in Washington, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Sites in the Middle Columbia River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Groundwater Sites in the Willamette River Basin, CRB Stratigraphy Study, Waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. The Pomona flow traveled from west-central Idaho to the Pacific (600 km), making it the longest known lava flow on Earth (the major- and trace-element compositions of the flow do not change over its entire length). Sites in the Eastern Columbia River Basin for the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. Notes on geologic logs of the Columbia River Basalt Group: Field mapping, subsurface well logs and samples, aeromagnetic surveys, and paleomagnetic and geochemical studies are used to identify and assign individual flows to formations, members, and flow units in the Columbia River Basalt Group. Small vents, such as spatter cones, are associated with the feeder dikes. Flows of the less voluminous, but widely distributed Wanapum Basalt commonly overlie the Grande Ronde Basalt in most areas. Map of Columbia River Basalts in the northwestern United States . Opal, Unique Resources. The Ellensberg Formation includes unidentified sedimentary interbeds within the CRBG. Some vents are hidden under younger flows. Basalt is formed from volcanic lava. The vents systems are 50 to more than 200 km long and a few kilometers wide. The diagram of formations, members, and units represents the current stratigraphic nomenclature of the CRBG (Reidel and others, 2002). The Columbia River Basalt Group occurs at land surface and has been shaped by tectonics and erosion to form the scablands of eastern Washington, the rolling hills of north central Oregon, cliffs along the Columbia River Gorge, uplands within the northern Willamette Valley, and headlands along the central and northern Oregon Coast. Location of faults, and timing and direction of fault movement can be inferred by compiling and analyzing the stratigraphy of the CRBG. The permeability of interflow zones varies because not all interflow zones are vesicular and brecciated. Below are partners associated with this project. Dashed lines are dike swarms. It contains informal and formal geologic names. The basalt is lava that cooled and hardened after it flooded over the landscape. Sites in the Middle Columbia River Basin for the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy in the Pacific Northwest study. Groundwater data for sites in Middle Columbia River Basin (Washington State) for the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. Flows eventually reached the Pacific Ocean, about 300 to 600 km from their fissure vents. lava flows cover parts of the states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The columns become visible when the rock is exposed to weathering, as has happened here. Product Sheets. Developing strong relationships throughout the region provide us the access we need to deliver the highest quality architectural stone and a diverse pallet of materials. Laki (1783-1784, 14.7 km3, 8 months, 1150-4250 m3/s). At some locations, the lava is more than 3,500 m thick. THE COLUMBIA RIVER BASALT GROUP The Columbia Basin of eastern Washington is plastered with deep layers of a fine grained black rock known as basalt. The primary aquifers are basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group and overlying basin-fill sediments. Many flood basalt provinces are associated with known hot spots and the Yellowstone hot spot may have influenced magma generation for the Columbia River flood basalt but the vents were 300-400 km north of the hot spot track and the chemistry of the basalts suggest a source in the lithospheric mantle not the asthenosphere as expected for hot spot magmas. The Picture Gorge and Prineville Basalt formations are limited to areas in central Oregon defining the southern extent of CRBG. Data from Tolan and others (in press) presented in Swanson and others (1989). At some locations, the lava is more than 3,500 m thick. Swanson, D.A., Wright, T.L., Hooper, P.R., and Bentley, R.D., 1979, Revision in the stratigraphic nomenclature of the Columbia River Basalt Group: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1457-G, 59 p. Below are related science projects associated with this project. Thick stacks of laterally extensive lava flows typify this flood basalt province. In all, more than 300 individual large (average volume 580 cubic km!) Paving Stone. VW is a higher education, k-12, and public outreach project of the, Columbia River Basalts: Features of a Typical Flow, Columbia River Basalts: Rate of Emplacement, Columbia River Basalts: Further Information. Columnar jointed volcanic rocks exist in many places on Earth. The area and volume of the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province are impressive but the volume is one-tenth the volume of other large igneous provinces such as Deccan, Parana, Karoo, and the Siberian Traps. View of waterfalls from basalt outcrops along the Columbia River, OR, Nomenclature of the Columbia River Basalt Group (Reidel and others, 2002). Eruptions filled the Pasco Basin in the east and then sent flows westward into the Columbia River Gorge. Individual flows are numbered consecutively within the subdivision starting with the uppermost flow in a series of flows. These formations are divided into members and further subdivided into flow units based on field mapping, well logs, aeromagnetic surveys, geochemistry, and magnetic polarity. Flows belonging to the Imnaha Basalt, the oldest known in the Columbia River Basalt Group, are found in western Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon. Columbia River Basalt Columns Much as the heyday of the columnar jointing meme seems to be past, I’d like to jump on the bandwagon in support of Washington’s columns as championed on Northwest Geology Field Trips. Groundwater availability issues in the basin include: 1) widespread water-level declines caused by pumping, 2) reduction in base flow to rivers and... More than 80 percent of drinking water in the mid-Columbia Basin comes from ground water. Comparison of the Roza Member (~ 14.5 million years ago, volume=1300 km3, emplacement=5-15 years, eruption rate=2600-8100 m2/s) of the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province to lava flows from 1. Conceptually, then, the CRBG is a series of productive aquifers consisting of permeable interflow zones separated by less permeable flow interiors. Photograph courtesy of Stephen Reidel. Flows belonging to the Imnaha Basalt, the oldest known in the Columbia River Basalt Group, are found in western Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon. The Picture Gorge and Prineville Basalt formations are limited to areas in central Oregon defining the southern extent of CRBG. Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy Bibliography. In order to understand and manage this important, but limited, groundwater resource, CRBG stratigraphy is used to identify interflow zones and map their lateral continuity. Photographed in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington State, USA. All together the basalts in this area are over 1,300 feet deep. Groundwater data for sites in Eastern Columbia River Basin for the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. Kupaianaha (1986-1992, ~0.5km3, 5.6 years, 2-5m2/s), 2. lava flows cover parts of the states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The numbering sequence is unique to each site and is not intended for correlation of individual flows between sites. Groundwater data for sites in Middle Columbia River Basin in the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. The tectonic origin of the flood basalts is not simple. Most of the flows in the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province are tholeiitic basalt. The Grande Ronde Basalt comprises about 80% of the CRBG by volume and covers most of the area where the CRBG is found. Stratigraphic column of the Columbia River Basalt. Water management in the arid Umatilla Basin has become increasingly complex in recent years. The Grand Ronde Basalt of the Columbia River Basalt Group. The Columbia River Basalt Group occurs at land surface and has been shaped by tectonics and erosion to form the scablands of eastern Washington, the rolling hills of north central Oregon, cliffs along the Columbia River Gorge, uplands within the northern Willamette Valley, and headlands along the central and northern Oregon Coast. On left are stratigraphically restricted compositional groups (those in the Sentinel Bluffs Member after Reidel, 2005). Once the interflow zones are mapped, the permeability and hydraulic connection of interflow zones can be determined and informed management options considered. These astounding lava floods occurred on a scale unequalled anywhere else on the entire planet. Schematic composite stratigraphic column for the Columbia River Basalt Group in the western Columbia River Gorge. The naming classification shown provides a framework to identify and group individual basalt flows. Interflow zones, which consist of the top of one basalt flow, the bottom of the overlying flow, and any intervening sediment, if present, generally are permeable where the basalt is vesicular or brecciated. This information is currently being used to map geologic structures that may pose hazards to people and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest (see http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/pacnw/). In some cases, the elevation of the top and bottom of geologic units is referenced to sea level and in other cases is referenced to land surface. In Adams, Franklin, and Grant Counties, nitrate concentrations in water from about 20 percent of all drinking-water wells exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level for nitrate. The basalt lava issued from fissures and vents in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and western Idaho. The columns become visible when the rock is exposed to weathering, as has happened here. The USGS and others use this information to improve the understanding of groundwater flow in the CRBG and provide information to agencies responsible for managing the water resources in the CRBG. Groundwater sites in the Willamette River Basin used in the Columbia River Basalt Stratigraphy study. It is an important regional aquifer system, and, in its folded and faulted flows, it records the late Cenozoic structural evolution of much of the Pacific Northwest. The outer limits of the Chief Joseph dike swarm are marked by CJ (vents for the flows in the Imhaha, Grande Ronde, and Wanapum Formations and Saddle Mountains Basalt). Feeder dikes form the vents for the flood basalts and they trend to the north-northwest to south-southeast across eastern Oregon and western Idaho (Swanson and others, 1975). USGS Columbia River Interdisciplinary Science Explorer Website, USGS PNW Geologic Mapping and Urban Hazards, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Columbia Plateau, Columbia River Basalt Group, Washington State Department of Natural Resources—Geology, Mantle Plumes’ discussion of possible origins of Columbia River Basalt Group, Oregon State University—Columbia River Flood Basalt Province, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Columbia River Basalt Province in Digital Geology of Idaho. Most of the volume of the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province (85%) was erupted in only 1.5 million years from 17 to 15.5 million years ago. The Monument Dike Swarm (M) was the vent for the Picture Gorge Basalt. From Self and others (1997). The PGBs covered approximately 2,500 square miles in basaltic lava, with some flows being over 50 feet deep. As the molten rock cools it contracts, causing tensional forces that pull open a series of vertical fractures between hexagonal columns of solidified basalt. that erupted over a period of less than one million years. Figure 2. Photo by Thor Thordarson. The Grande Ronde (GR) and Cornucopia (C) dike swarms are within the Chief Joseph dike swarm.
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