Geology in Action Walk ***FILLED***

***This event is currently full. To add your name to the waitlist, please email Rebecca. You will be contacted as soon as possible if space becomes available.

Join Greenbelt and geologist, Robert J. (Bob) Lillie, for a Geology Walk at Fitton Green Natural Area. Back by popular demand, Bob will take us on a journey through geological time as he describes the forces such as volcanic eruptions, tectonic plates, and erosion that formed Oregon’s spectacular mountains, valleys, and coastlines. Fitton Green is a special natural area with unparalleled panoramic views of the Coast Range that provide a dramatic backdrop for this popular free and family-friendly walk.

 

Hike Leader

Bob Lillie draws on his experience as a geology professor, park ranger, and graphic illustrator to tell the geological story of the Corvallis region and its connections to Oregon’s natural and cultural history. He is a writer, illustrator, and national park ranger specializing in communicating park landscapes and their deeper meanings to the public. He was a Professor of Geosciences at Oregon State University (1984 to 2011) and is a Certified Interpretive Trainer through the National Association for Interpretation. His new book is “Oregon’s Island in the Sky: Geology Road Guide to Marys Peak.” At the end of the walk, copies will available for purchase and signing.

Lillie’s other books include “Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest (2015)  and “Parks and Plates: The Geology of Our National Parks, Monuments, and Seashores” (2005)

 

Island in the Sky Geology Walk **FILLED**

*This walk is currently full. If you would like to put your name on the waitlist, please email Jessica.

Join us for a walk with geologist, Robert J. (Bob) Lillie, as we take a journey up Fitton Green and through geological time. We’ll learn about the forces, including volcanic eruptions, tectonic plates, and erosion, that formed Oregon’s spectacular mountains, valleys, and coastlines. Bob draws on his experience as a geology professor, park ranger, and graphic illustrator to tell the geological story of the Corvallis region and its connections to Oregon’s natural and cultural history. This outing is part of the Oregon Walk the Land Day.

Bob Lillie is a writer, illustrator, and national park ranger specializing in communicating park landscapes and their deeper meanings to the public. He was a Professor of Geosciences at Oregon State University (1984 to 2011) and is a Certified Interpretive Trainer through the National Association for Interpretation. His new book is “Oregon’s Island in the Sky: Geology Road Guide to Marys Peak.” At the end of the walk, copies will available for purchase and signing.

Lillie’s other books include “Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest (2015)  and “Parks and Plates: The Geology of Our National Parks, Monuments, and Seashores” (2005)

 

Geology in Action at Fitton Green

**FILLED** Beauty from the Beast: Appreciating Geology in Action from Fitton Green

Join us for a geology walk at Fitton Green Natural Area! This walk has filled – to reserve a spot on the wait-list, email Jessica McDonald.

The same geological forces that threaten our lives with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions also nourish our spirits by forming western Oregon’s spectacular mountains, valleys, and coastlines. Dr. Robert J. Lillie relates this “Beauty from the Beast” story by highlighting spectacular scenery on a stroll to the top of Fitton Green. He draws on his experience as a geology professor, park ranger and graphic illustrator to remind Corvallis residents and visitors that our hometown and spectacular greenbelt are subject to geologic processes that affect our lives and livlihoods. By learning to live with the beast of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, we can more-fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Robert J. (Bob) Lillie is a writer, illustrator, and park ranger, specializing in communicating park landscapes and their deeper meanings to the public. Bob was a Professor of Geosciences at Oregon State University from 1984 to 2011. He is author of “Parks and Plates: The Geology of Our National Parks, Monuments, and Seashores” (W. W. Norton and Company, 2005) and is a Certified Interpretive Trainer through the National Association for Interpretation. His most recent book is “Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.”

Bob was born and raised in the Cajun Country of Louisiana. He has a B.S. in geology from the University of Louisiana–Lafayette, an M.S. in geophysics from Oregon State University, and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Cornell University. Since 1994 Bob has collaborated with the National Park Service (NPS) on educating the public in geology. He served as a seasonal interpretive ranger at Crater Lake and Yellowstone National Parks and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

In 2005 Bob was presented the NPS award for “outstanding contributions in engaging the National Parks staff and visitors in geoscience.”

(www.robertjlillie.com)

Information about my new book:

Title of Book: “Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest” – Available online through Amazon, or locally at Benton County Historical Society, Grassroots Book Store, and at visitor centers at parks, forests, and museums in the PNW.

Also available at the Benton County Historical Socienty, Grass Roots Bookstore, and at visitor centers at parks, forests, and museums in the Pacific Northwest.

Geology

In mid-August, Becca and I dropped our kayaks into the Willamette River just north of Corvallis for an afternoon paddle to Albany.  The river was filled with canoeist, kayaks, rafts, and inner tubes of various makes, colors and conditions. The river was lazy and slow and our kayaks occasionally scrapped river bottom gravels because of the low flows.  I remember on February 8th, 1996 when the waterfront of Corvallis was a sea of umbrellas as citizens excitedly watched the river spill over its banks and flood the eastside.  Greater Willamette River floods in 1964 and 1943 discharged far more water.  A massive flood in 1861, during Corvallis’s early history, covered over 320,000 acres and washed away many emerging communities.  The dams that block the McKenzie, Middle Fork of the Willamette and Santiam Rivers have done the work intended by the army engineers who constructed them so we will not likely experience a flood like 1861. However, I cannot but think the river a few tricks up its sleeve and may again surprise us with its power.

Becca floating the Willamette

Becca floating the Willamette

The Pleistocene floods that ravaged the Pacific Northwest were likely some of the most dramatic hydrologic events in earth’s history.  Huge glaciers blocked canyons of the Clark Fork River in Idaho and created an enormous 3000 sq mile lake referred to as Lake Missoula.  As the glaciers periodically receded the giant lake emptied in massive floods that inundated vast stretches of the Pacific Northwest.  The waters surged through the Columbia Gorge transforming the landscape and depositing gravel and giant Pleistocene granite boulders from Montana and Idaho on the low hills and valley floors in the Willamette Basin.  The Willamette Valley became a lake, 100 miles long, 60 miles wide and hundreds of feet deep.  Geologists suspect that the floods occurred dozens of times over a period of 6,000 years during the Pleistocene with the last event perhaps 13,000 years ago.  Another lake, Lake Bonneville, in the present day site of the Great Salt Lake, may have created another massive flood 14,000 years ago that ripped through Hells Canyon and into the Columbia Gorge.  The Bonneville and Missoula floods left massive deposits of sediment on the valley floors of the Willamette Basin.  There is evidence that humans resided in the Pacific Northwest during the latter periods of the giant floods and perhaps fished and encamped along the lake shores formed by the flood waters.

Bob Duncan, a geologist and geophysicist from Oregon State University, led a tour of Bald Hill Farm this July.  Bob grasps the nature of events that span millions of years including the evolution of ocean basins, and the formation of ocean crusts and coastal mountain ranges.  While most of us focus our imaginations on our next meals or weekend hikes, Bob’s imagination must roam across geologic epochs.  The descriptions of his research and publications includes many wonderful words that I love to say such as “petrogensis” (dealing with the origins of rock particularly igneous rocks), “ophiolite” (serpentine, pillow lava, and chert rock typical of the upper mantel of the earth’s oceanic crust), “mafic” (rock that is rich in magnesium and iron), and “celadonites” (another rock type in the mica group that forms massive prismatic crystallites or clay aggregates),  but had to look up to gain some basic understanding of their meanings.  The tour provided a brief glimpse of the underlayments of the land that we walk on and, for the most part, take for granted.

Bob Duncan leading a tour and discussion of Bald Hill Farm and Willamette Valley geology.

Bob Duncan leading a tour and discussion of Bald Hill Farm and Willamette Valley geology.

 

The geomorphology of the Willamette Basin and our community  shaped the natural history of the ecoregion and is deeply intertwined with eruptions of huge shield volcanos in the Cascades between 17 and 6 million years ago that flooded the valley with basalt, and the ice sheets that covered  and etched the valley floor and hillsides for thousands of years.   Bob also mentioned that until fairly recently many geologists assumed that the Pacific Northwest was reasonably secure from massive earthquakes similar to the latest one in Japan, but now the data clearly suggests that Washington and Oregon will likely experience a massive 9.0 or greater earthquake perhaps within the next 50 years.  This super quake may last for up to 4 minutes and create tsunamis that inundate our coastal communities.

We take for granted that our grand structures such as dams and skyscrapers are incomparable monuments, but compared with the landforms shaped by lava flows,  historic floods, and ice sheets, they are inconsequential.