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Mapping the Columbia

The Columbia River Basin comes to life in a new digital atlas produced by Oregon State University cartography students. They have created an iBook — accessible via Apple’s iPad — which combines the look and feel of a traditional paper book with the touch-screen features of a tablet computer. Through colorful maps, animations, photos and […]

Rethinking Yellowstone

A geological mystery lies beneath the majestic beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Once thought solved, the enigma continues to unfold through the lens of a young science known as magnetotellurics. As accepted theory goes, over the past 16 million years a rising plume of magma in the Earth’s mantle produced massive amounts of lava and […]

Ground Lines

I remember my first day at what’s called “baby field camp” in the Oregon State geology program. Outside Bishop, California, we mapped the area around a cinder cone, long since dead. I quickly learned that the hot sun is a never-ending force of nature, not to be underestimated. I drank at least a gallon of […]

Tsunami safe?

We’re overdue. If the Cascadia subduction zone behaves as it has in the past, an 8.0 to 8.5 earthquake and a resulting tsunami have a good chance of striking the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years. That’s the take-home message from OSU marine geologist Chris Goldfinger’s studies of offshore debris flows. He has identified […]

Committed to a Fault

Growing up in Central Oregon’s spectacular landscape, Ajeet Johnson challenged the backcountry of the Cascades. She pulled herself hand-over-hand up Smith Rock and carved down slopes at Mt. Bachelor, but over time, she became curious about the forces that shaped the terrain and will influence its future.

Glass Half Full (roughly speaking)

The next time you sip a glass of spring water, consider this: Before it got to your lips, that water was soaking through soil, creeping along basalt crevices or flowing through porous volcanic rock. It nurtured microbes, carried dissolved minerals and may have spread the byproducts of human activities. Its pivotal role in the environment […]