Category Archives: Geology

Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring – Lines 1

Grand Prismatic Spring -Mineral Flats

As the hot mineral water flows out of the spring, it creates a series of mineral flats.  This perspective  was a flat grey.  I decided to convert it  to black and white, add contrast, and apply a slight gradient across the image..

Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring – Detail 1

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

A boardwalk runs along the edge of the spring.  The reflection of people walking along the walk caught my eye when the mist periodically lifted.  I did not have the foresight to be patient and take an image with a light mist to create the mystic feeling I felt.  Lesson learned;  Be ready to capture a “feeling” and not just a “picture”.

 

Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Hot Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world.  The immensity of the spring is very difficult to capture from the ground level.  I had my 24-105mm lens and only could capture a portion of the spring.  I could not change to my 14mm wide angle because of the extreme harsh mist generated by the hot spring.  On my next visit I will make two trips to photograph from the ground level.  The first will be with my wide aperture lens to try to capture as much of the overall grandness of the spring.  The second will be with my mid-range zoom to capture the details. To get a full photo of the spring, one needs to hike up the trail on the hill above the spring.  The trail is currently (June 2017) in construction and not accessible..

I found the details of the water and mud beds below fascinating.  Lines, colors, and reflections intrigued me.  I will display images of some of those images in future posts.

A Perspective of Time

Argillite Boulder – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington

This image depicts an interesting perspective of time.  The rock in the foreground was deposited here on Rattlesnake Mountain around 15,000 years ago.  The Rattlesnake Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills in the background were created as part of the Yakima Fold formation about 1.5 million years ago.  The bedrock of this area is basalt from basalt flows through eastern Washington from 6-15 million years ago. The argillite boulder in the foreground is metamorphic rock from western Montana formed 1.5 billion years ago.

So here I was, sitting on a rock created before life on earth existed, brought here by a humongous flood around 15 thousand years ago, deposited on mountains uplifted 1.5 million years ago, created by a series of gigantic lava flows about 2 miles thick 6-15 million years ago.  And I think I am old at 67 years. As many of my Whizzy friends would say, “It’s a thinker.”

What is a Bergmound?

Bergmound – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington

As glaciers moved southward during the Ice Ages, they scoured the terrain picking up rock debris.  During the Missoula Floods, parts of the glaciers would break off forming ice bergs.  These were carried down through the Eastern Washington scablands into the Pasco basin.  As Lake Lewis formed, many of the ice bergs floated to the edges of the lake.  As the lake emptied, several of these ice bergs were left stranded on the surrounding ridges.  They melted leaving mounds of accumulated rocks, gravel, and sand. These are “bergmounds”.

Most bergmounds are found in the Pasco Basin at elevations of 600 – 850 feet.  They are 20 – 35 feet higher than the surrounding terrain.  The bergmound pictured above is on a plateau of eastern Rattlesnake mountain above Richland, WA.  The bergmounds are somewhat inconspicuous unless, one is looking for them.

Granite Erratic

Granite Erratic – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington

The Missoula Floods carried large icebergs from the glaciers that dammed Lake Missoula or from the Okanagan lobe glacier that dammed Lake Columbia along with them as they made their way to the Pacific.  As the icebergs melted or became “stranded” against ridges that formed Lake Lewis, they dropped the rocks that the glaciers picked up as they scoured their paths southward.  Granite is present in Montana as well as northern Washington.  But it is not present in central Washington.  The origin of this single granite erratic on Rattlesnake Mountain is therefore not definite. It could have come from either Montana or northern Washington.

This chunk of granite is approximately 6′ in length.  It is located at about 800 feet elevation (my estimate).

Giant Ripples

  • Giant Ripples on the West Bar – Columbia River

This image is a close-up of the giant ripples on the West Bar near Crescent City on the Columbia River as showed on my previous entry.  These giant ripples were created during the Ice Age Floods as the Columbia River flowed over the gravel bar.  They are 35 feet high, spaced at 150 -200 feet apart.  It is amazing what water can do!

The Calm Columbia

Columbia River – West Bar

How calm the Columbia River looks.  Fifteen thousand years ago, during the Ice Age Floods,  it wasn’t quite like this.  At that time the Columbia was flowing at the top of the basalt cliffs seen in the distance.  The West Bar shown in the middle of this image is comprised of gravel. rock, and other sediments.  It was part of the backwater created as the Columbia raged toward the left and then back down through the gorge. The surface of the bar is covered with giant ripples around thirty feet high.

This image was taken above Crescent Bar looking southwest.

Sentinel Gap on Columbia River

Sentinel Gap Looking South from Frenchman’s Spring Coulee

This image was taken from the bottom of Frenchman’s Spring Coulee near where it enters the Columbia River.  Sentinel Gap was cut across the Saddle Mountains by the Columbia River and the Ice Age Floods.  During the floods, the Columbia River was at a level near the top of the eastern slope of the Gap.  On the north side of the Gap, the Vantage Bridge and Wanapum Dam are faintly visible.  Through the Gap, Umatilla and Rattlesnake Ridges are visible.  And of course, the clouds make the image.