The Scenes We Saw, Day Three

Word o’ the day is blueschist. I can’t even begin to describe how unutterably awesome it is to see blueschist in the wild. I like all rocks, even the endless basalt, but blueschist is the schist and it’s something truly special.

Blueschist! Top o' ye hammer for scale. Sorta.

Bandon, Oregon has whole jetties made of this stuff. The ocean fades into insignificance as you scramble over those wildly-contorted, garnet-studded, swirly, dark-and-light gorgeous glittery rocks. The winter waves have plucked bits from the jetty and set them out where geologists don’t feel bad grabbing a sample or two – they’re no longer part of the jetty’s structural integrity. If we hadn’t had so many other things to do, I could’ve stayed there the entire day.

Sea stacks and waves

The view’s nice, when you need to stand up and stretch your back. Even on a cloudy morning, it’s quite lovely there. I’m sure people look at those stacks and think of nature’s splendor and seabirds roosting and suchlike things. I look at them and wonder if they’re made of blueschist, and if so, whether Oregon wouldn’t be kind enough to steal one back from the birds to give to geologists.

We at last ripped ourselves off the greatest rocks in southern Oregon and headed inland, through the Coast Range. Now, there’s this thing about having a small bladder and heading inland through the Coast Range: there aren’t restrooms. And we’d stopped for some time at various outcrops (which I’ll tell you about in detail later, and make you drool, though probably not as much as the blueschist does). And so by the time we were headed up to another outcrop Lockwood knew, I was doing The Dance. But there were no gas stations or rest areas, no places that looked likely to allow a weary traveler to spend two minutes being Europeein.


I saw we happened to be on a wine tour route.

And where there are tasting rooms, there are bottles of wine. And where there are bottles of wine, there are probably restrooms. Put this fact together with the fact that I like wine quite a lot and wouldn’t mind having a bottle of local vintage, and you have all the ingredients for the most fortuitous unplanned stop of the trip. Because, you see, Girardet is a winery busy turning old marine delta deposits into wine-growing ground. And so you get a beautiful juxtaposition of geology and wine, which photos will be awesome when I do my geology of wine post at long last, someday in the (hopefully) near future.

Great wine terroir in the making

I’ll have lots to say about Girardet soon. It’s a wonderful place, with very awesome wine-growers who don’t mind letting a couple of geotourists tromp around looking at things and go gaga over the rocks.

Just up the road from them is a really nifty mountain that, astoundingly for the Pacific Northwest, is basically bare rock, with only a bit of biology clinging to it.

Lone tree on a nearly naked mountain

And that, I have to say, was utterly wonderful.

That was our last lovely day. Not that the next day wasn’t beautiful, but that gorgeous sunny weather got pushed out by a winter storm, and so drink in those blue skies while you can. I’m about to get you soaking wet.

As we’re going behind a waterfall, this isn’t necessarily a problem.

The Scenes We Saw, Day Three

4 thoughts on “The Scenes We Saw, Day Three

  1. 1

    We had ample reason not to walk down (yet another) set of stairs to the south beach at Bandon, but yes, there is yet more blueschist in the cobbles, boulders and stacks there. One more place we need to get back to at some point, though if we hit up the Josephine Ophiolite, it’s an easy stop. And we can keep our legs a little less abused beforehand.

  2. 4

    @ Anne- I thnk the rock on that Mt. is Lookingglass Fm, basal unit of the Tyee Fan, and unlike Tyee Fm, derived from erosion of Klamath Terranes. Tyee dominantly sourced in granitic rocks, either Idaho Batholith or something very much like it in same general area. The coolest thing in the area (though this peak is gorgeous) is a quarry now fenced off and marked “No Trespassing,” where you can see interbedded Roseburg pillow basalt and earliest seds turned up vertically… I think the shot Dana posted above was taken from that stop. So somewhere between where we were standing and the top of that peak is an angular unconformity that was created in a mere 10-15 million years. Pretty sure the imbricated conglomerate photo I posted on Twitter is the same rock as what we see in the mountain.!/lockwooddewitt/status/178373225397501953/photo/1/large

    One thing Dana didn’t mention is that until we stopped at the winery, I really wasn’t sure we were in the right place- hadn’t been there in ~25 years, and was running on pure “I think this looks right” intuition. The winery was an extremely fortuitous find.

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