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Learn more about Oregon's geology


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Blue Mountains

This area is made up of separate "exotic terranes," areas that were created elsewhere and scooped up by North America as it moved west toward the Pacific. Fossils found in this province reveal their foreign origins. Placer and lode gold mines were active here in the past, and towns such as John Day and Baker City, together with the Sumpter gold dredge, are vivid reminders of the Blue Mountains gold mining heritage.

Hells Canyon
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along the NE boundary of Oregon: Deeper than the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon was formed when the Snake River cut through a chain of volcanic islands that had been smashed against the westward-moving North American continent millions of years ago. For information contact Wallowa Whitman National Forest, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, 88401, Highway 82, Enterprise, OR 97828, phone (541) 426-4978.

Link:
Oregon Outdoors
Wallowa Whitman National Forest
Malheur National Forest

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

map legend

Graphic by Elizabeth L. Orr, Geology of Oregon,
available from Nature of the Northwest

Coastal RangeKlamath MountainsDeschutes-Columbia PlateauBlue MountainsHigh Lava PlainsCascade RangeWillamette ValleyBasin & Range & Owyhee uplandsBasin & Range & Owyhee uplandsmap legendaBlue MountainsWillamette ValleyDeschutes-Columbia plateauKlamath MountainsCoast Rangemap legendbCascade MountainsBasin Range & Owyhee uplandsHigh Lava plainsOwyhee UplandsCascade MountainsBasin & Range & Owyhee UplandsHigh Lava PlainsOwyhee UplandsCascade MountainsBasin & Range & Owyhee UplandsHigh Lava PlainsOwyhee UplandsCascade MountainsBasin & Range & Owyhee UplandsHigh Lava PlainsOwyhee UplandsCascade MountainsBasin & Range & Owyhee UplandsHigh Lava PlainsOwyhee Uplands


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Wallowa Mountains
Wallowa Lake is the result of glaciation. The Wallowa Mountains were carved by nine major glaciers during the last two million years.


Hell's Canyon
The Snake River cuts between the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon and the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho.


Grand Ronde Valley
The Grande Ronde Valley is surrounded by exotic terranes that were cemented to the North American continent beginning about 200 million years ago.




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Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
800 NE Oregon Street #28, Suite 965, Portland, OR 97232-2162
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