Hello everyone! I would like to highlight the wonderful mentorship and guidance I received throughout my research adventures. Many people, ranging from academics to federal scientists have taken the time and effort to help me understand the geology, geomorphology, and field techniques needed to map. An excellent benefit of the USGS EDMAP component of the NCGMP program is that it requires the student geologic mapper to work under the mentorship of USGS and academic scientists. Overall, this experience has help me gain insight into the inner-workings of the USGS, and has taught me countless new geological skills.
To orient you, here (below) is a figure outlining the extent of my map area in red. You may be asking yourself - why are you interested in this area? Why would the USGS fund geological mapping of this area? What makes it so cool? These are all excellent questions and so I've decided to write this post explaining the structural geology of the area and what we, as structural geologists, know and don't know about the area?..
As described by our A brief history of the Columbia River Basalts post, the crux of the “How do I map individual basalt flows??” problem can be addressed by identifying what CRB member and formation we are looking at. With this information we can sequence the other members of the Wanapum and identify ourselves in space and time. However, basalt flows have many different parts, the top, middle and bottom all look different. When mapping basalt geologic contacts (locations where two different units of rock touch) we have to know how to orient ourselves within a single flow.
The Columbia River Basalts (CRBs) are a Large Igneous Provinces (LIP). Large (in reference to size) Igneous (a type of rock originating from melt and cooling of Earth materials) and Province (a reference to politically demarcated areas of similar history and culture) refer to regions greater than 100,000 square kilometers of mafic rock emplaced on the surface or at depth over a geologically short period of time. Some, like the Deccan Trapps and the Siberian Trapps, are associated with mass extinction events. Luckily for us, the CRBs are not.
This morning we reviewed the Columbia River Basalt stratigraphy of The Dalles area, and devoted the early afternoon to unlocking the secrets of a portable XRF: the Bruker Tracer IV-SD (the link is to a newer model than the one we are using).
My name is Danielle Woodring.
I am a first year graduate student at Oregon State University studying structural geology!
This summer I will be creating a geologic map of part of the Columbia River Gorge.
This year, I received a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) to create and publish a geologic map of an area north of the Columbia River Gorge, in southern Washington.
NCGMP is a joint effort between the USGS, states, and universities to provide accurate geologic maps to the nation!