McKenzie Pass Geology

August 20, 2010

Starting on an unexpectedly cool and cloudy morning in the Eugene-Springfield area, six of us headed up the McKenzie Valley and into the sunshine of a beautiful day. We were joined by one person at the Ranger Station, and two others at the first stop at the junction of highways 126 and 242. As on previous years we started our geological tour at this first stop with a general introduction to the geological history of the area. We then drove up the McKenzie Pass road, stopping several times to view, examine, and discuss the volcanic features and evidence of glacial activity. The second stop was for a view of the canyon walls of Lost Creek, a discussion of the glacier that had filled the valley, and a look at the large spring that feeds Lost Creek. This was followed by a hike to Proxy Falls, walking over lava flows from Collier Cone. After lunch we walked on a small part of the South Belknap Crater lava flow, examined glacial grooves cut into older volcanic rock by Craig Lake, walked across an “island” of the older volcanic rock nearly engulfed by young lava from Little Belknap Crater, examined the contact between the lava flow from Little Belknap Crater and the flow from Yapoah Crater, had a good view of the peaks from atop Dee Wright Observatory, and, finally walked the newly re-surfaced loop trail on the Yapoah lava flow. From McKenzie Pass we drove straight back to Eugene. Participants were Keiko Bryan, Janet and John Jacobsen, Sherwood Jeffries, Steve Knight, Tori Lentfer, Claudia Owen, Susan Sanazaro, and Peter Rodda (leader).

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