Astoria Oregon

Sep 12, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


With dawn approaching, but still a good twenty minutes off, we sailed west towards the mouth of the Columbia River.  We encountered calm water with no hint of the raging seas so famous at this location.  Still, we felt a gentle swell and looking south could see the white caps of large breakers beyond the protective jetty.

After breakfast, and docking in Astoria, our morning tour began with a visit to Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent a wet winter after successfully crossing the continent in 1805.  We then set off to the Columbia River Maritime Museum to marvel at the nautical displays, charts and video chronicles and even explore a decommissioned light ship.  For many years, this ship “Columbia” provided a warning beacon to others approaching the mouth of the Columbia River.  It now offers an interesting historical perspective of the time when people, not just technology were required to keep the sea-lanes safe.

After lunch, we were off to our next adventure!  A trip to Cape Disappointment and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.  We toured the center then walked through a forest trail to Waikiki beach.  Not on Oahu, but beautiful none-the-less.  We got a closer look at the temperate rainforest with excellent views of large Sitka spruce trees towering above the forest shrubs. 

On the cliff below the interpretive center and lighthouse, we saw well-preserved pillow basalt.  These lava rocks erupted on the ocean floor producing their distinctive pillow structure.  Accreted to the edge of North America over fifty million years ago they provide us with insight into the accretionary process responsible for much of our rocks in the Pacific Northwest.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Grover

Naturalist

Jeff's early introduction to the science of geology came from exposure to his grandfather’s extensive mineral collection and his vivid stories of work in the mines of Aspen Colorado.  From this informal beginning, Jeff earned degrees in geology from the University of Southern California (B.S.) and the University of Arizona (M.S.) where he focused on tectonics and structural geology.  Upon graduation, he worked as a petroleum geologist, and as an engineering geologist engaged in landslide and earthquake hazard mitigation.  He is licensed as a registered geologist in California.

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