Category Archives: Geology

Contemplation in Geology

“The Yakima Folds”
As Seen From Selah Ridge

A few days ago, we were walking along the new path of our irrigation pipeline when I stopped and gazed down through the Selah Valley into Yakima. What I saw was an excellent near ground-level perspective of the Yakima Folds. It made me stop and contemplate how the Yakima Folds were created and how they affected the way our local communities evolved.

The Yakima Folds were created 15.6 million years ago when opposing tectonic plate movement compressed the landscape, causing fold-like ridges to be created. The above image was taken from the base of Selah Ridge, north of Selah, looking down the throat of the gaps created by the Yakima River. The first set of ridges is the Yakima Ridge which separates Selah from Yakima. The second set of ridges are the Ahtamum/Rattleshake Hills Ridge which separate the city of Yakima from the lower Yakima Valley. The ridges in the far background are the Horse Heaven Hills.

Which Peak Is the Highest?

“Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine Peak”
Alabama Hills, California

Boulders of the Alabama Hills frame Lone Pine Peak on the left and Mt. Whitney on the right. From this position, Lone Pine Peak (elev. 12,949 ft) looks significantly higher than Mt. Whitney (elev. 14,505 ft) in the background. It is just a matter of perspective.

Reflecting Back

“Clouds and Rocks”
Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Reflecting back, just a week ago we were in the Joshua Tree National Park in the Mohave Desert. It was a warm beautiful day in the high 80’s. It was a great vacation.

When I saw this scene, I thought it looked like smoke was coming out of the rocks above us. It reminded me of the days when I was a boy, laying in the grass at the ranch, looking up at the sky, and imagining stories that the clouds above were portraying. Many summer days were spent dreaming. I still find myself dreaming as the clouds move across the sky. I wonder what the rocks were trying to communicate with their smoke signals.

Does It Matter?

“Rocks of Alabama”
Alabama Hills, California

I cannot define why these rock formations caught my eye. They just did. Was it their unusual shapes? Was it the contrast between the smooth eroded rocks in the foreground and the more rugged rocks in the background? Was it the textural difference between the Alabama Hills and the background Eastern Sierras? Or was it the memories of all the old cowboy movies of my childhood? Does it matter?

Do I See a Walrus?

“Rock Folds”
Alabama Hills, California

When both Mary and I saw this folded rock formation we both said, “It kind of looks like a walrus.” The Alabama Hills are filled with such strange looking rock formations. It is an exciting opportunity to let my mind go wild! I can easily get lost imagining what could be.

An Anomaly

“Steptoe Butte”
The Palouse, Washington

The Columbia River Lava flows make up most of the bedrock of the Palouse. Fifteen to eighteen million years ago fissures in southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho spewed out great lava flows over the Columbia Basin. Steptoe Butte created by a metamorphic rock protrusion 400 million years ago rises 1000 feet above the lava flows.

Related Images:

360 Degree View

Selah Bluff
Heather Heights, Selah, WA

Aspens, cattails, grasses, and the dark sky frame this ridge on Selah Bluff. From the top, one has a 360 degree view. The Wenas valley is to the north. Mt. Rainier can be seen to the northwest, Mt. Clemens to the west, and Mt. Adams to the southwest. To the east are the ridges of the Yakima River Canyon. To the southeast are the Yakima Firing Center and Rattlesnake Mountain. Looking south I can see our neighborhood, the lower Selah Valley and the Selah-Yakima Gap. It is a place to put down my camera and just enjoy nature and the open area around me.

Looking East

Selah Ridge from Garden Pathway
Heatherwood Summer

Part of our design criteria when laying out Heatherwood was to make use of the background geological highlights. Pathways leading from one section to another were located to channel the view to some specific area of interest. This pathway, facing east, highlights Selah Ridge with its basalt lava flow. Also in the background, the view highlights our 1890’s irrigation flume.

Related Images:

North Cascades

Liberty Bell Peak
North Cascades National Park
, Washington

This post ends my series on National Parks and Monuments that I have visited over the last several years. I know that I have missed some but that is OK.

This image of Liberty Bell Peak was taken from the top of Washington Pass in the North Cascades Highway. The peak has just received its first dusting of snow for the winter. The deciduous Western Larches provide a colorful yellow to light up the side of the peak.