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  • Marisa Acosta

Oregon Badlands Lava Flows


One of the coolest things about eastern Oregon is the abundance of relatively fresh lava flows that have been cut and exposed by rivers. The river that cut this particular flow is now ephemeral, allowing us to walk the dry stream bed through spectacular outcrop of basalt.

The outcrops are spectacular examples of basaltic lava flows in cross section. you can see the uppermost vesiculation front, the hexagonal columns developing at the base and top of the lava flows (upper and lower collonades created by the two chilling fronts) and the more fine-grained entablature in the center of the sandwhich. There are multiple flows in the image above (at least two, maybe three).

The cave shown above has petroglyphs in it. Native Americans have existed in Oregon for over 15,000 years. The basaltic lava flow featured in this blog post is ~80,000 years old and related to Newberry volcanism.

Stellar examples of vertical pipes through which volatiles were exhaled by the solidifying lava flows.

A stream-created pothole, generated by water eddies moving sediment in a circular motion.

Geology dog. She loves the snow.

University of Oregon

Department of Earth Sciences

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