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Quaternary Geology of the Columbia Plateau

By
Victor R. Baker
Victor R. Baker
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721
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Bruce N. Bjornstad
Bruce N. Bjornstad
Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, P.O. Box 999, Richland, Washington 99352
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Alan J. Busacca
Alan J. Busacca
Department of Agronomy and Soils, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-6420
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Karl R. Fecht
Karl R. Fecht
Westinghouse Hanford Co., PO. Box 1970, Richland, Washington 99352
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E. P. Kiver
E. P. Kiver
Department of Geology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington 99004
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Ula L. Moody
Ula L. Moody
Physical Science Department, Western Oregon State College, Monmouth, Oregon 97361
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James G. Rigby
James G. Rigby
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada at Reno, Reno, Nevada 89577-0088
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D. F. Stradling
D. F. Stradling
Department of Geography, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington 99004
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Ann M. Tallman
Ann M. Tallman
Westinghouse Hanford Co., P.O. Box 1970, Richland Washington 99352
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

The Columbia Plateau is a basin-like subprovince of the Columbia Intermontane Physiographic Province (Freeman and others, 1945; Thornbury, 1965). The Blue Mountains area of southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon is the southern upwarped part of the province, whereas the region north of the Blue Mountains, east of the Cascade Mountains, south of the Okanogan Highlands, and west of the Idaho Rockies makes up the less deformed part of the province. The entire province is characterized by great late Cenozoic outpourings of basaltic lava. Because of gentle dips on the lava flows in the northern and eastern sections of the plain, the term “Columbia Plateau” has been applied to this region. Waitt and Swanson (1987) propose that the area be named “Columbia Plain” to indicate its analogy to the Snake River Plain, which is also characterized by basaltic lava flows.

The Miocene tholeiitic flood basalt that characterizes the Columbia Plateau is named the Columbia River Basalt Group (Swanson and others, 1979). Its volume is approximately 1.7 × 105 km3, and it extends over an area of approximately 1.6 × 105 km2 (Tolan and others, 1987). Most of the flows date between 17.5 and 14.5 Ma, but basalt eruptions from linear vents in the eastern part of the province continued to 6 Ma on a reduced scale (Swanson and others, 1979). Sedimentary interbeds occur between some basalt flows, especially near the margins of the basalt plain (Waters, 1955;

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Contents

DNAG, Geology of North America

Quaternary Nonglacial Geology

Roger B. Morrison
Roger B. Morrison
Morrison and Associates 13150 West Ninth Avenue Golden, Colorado 80401
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Geological Society of America
Volume
K-2
ISBN electronic:
9780813754611
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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