This image was taken from below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitor’s Center near Vantage Washington. Seeing these brought back many happy memories of my youth.
As a young Boy Scout, I can remember hiking along the Columbia River north of Vantage, Washington. Huge basalt cliffs rose above the free flowing river. We could climb up along the rocks and see these funny drawings made by ancient Indians. We did not think much of it back then. When the Wanapum Dam was built, the backwaters flooded the area where many of these artifacts were located. Luckily, someone had the foresight to carefully remove these petroglyphs before the water covered them up. Today several of the saved petroglyphs are displayed below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitors Center.
Note: Notice the initials and heart above the man and woman. Why would anyone deface such a piece of our history????
After a great photo shoot of Sandhill Cranes in the early morning, we decided to take a drive on back roads and look for more cranes in a different direction. We saw this little lake along side the road and just pulled off to do a little exploring. It was such a beautiful morning and such a picturesque little scene. I just couldn’t help but to stop and snap a postcard. We didn’t find any more cranes … but we saw some nice scenery.
The first thing I thought of when I looked up and saw this section of columnar basalt was that it was missing a tooth. Columnar basalt is very susceptible to water erosion because of its many fissures. The raging water of the Missoula Floods easily plucked the columns from their path.
These pieces of basalt (approximately 18 inches in length) caught my as I was exploring road cuts in the Yakima River Canyon. They seemed to be accented by an artists brush. Different patterns and different colors abounded in adjacent rocks. Since the rocks were adjacent and seem to be part of the same basalt flow, why are they so different in surface color and pattern. I need to do a little research on what factors determine the color and patterns.
A couple of miles up the road from my last post, I saw these basalt columns protruding vertically upward. They were located on a different ridge. The forces driving the uplift were different than the ones from the first ridge. I ask why, what caused the difference? Did this ridge lift at a different time or were the forces just different from the ridge in the first post. My curiosity kills me. I think I need to do more research on how these “Yakima Folds” evolved.
This tilted basalt was the result of a plate fold being pushed up from a diagonal force. Throughout the Yakima River Canyon the basalt columns show displacement in various directions. This illustrates that forces were lateral pushing toward each other creating a “fold”.
The basalt shown here is in a “columnar” formation. Basalt formed like this cooled very slowly, creating a soother texture.