Sunday, July 20, 2014

I'm Sorry, This Trench is Full; Those Rocks Will Have to Go Elsewhere

Looking south from Hurricane Ridge into the heart of Olympic National Park
There will be few detailed blogs these next few weeks; I'm on the road leading our Canada/Pacific Northwest field class, and I will be just a bit busy. But I can't help putting up a few photos here and there. In today's pictures we see what happens when subduction zones get out of control, so to speak.

Subduction zones are places where oceanic crust sinks back into the Earth's mantle to be recycled at some future time as magma and lava. The mud and sand that blankets the coast and seafloor often will be scraped off against the edge of the continent to form a highly deformed and sheared deposit called an accretionary wedge. Much of the time, wedge deposits remain underwater or show as low-lying islands, but sometimes the rock gets pushed up into mountain ranges parallel to the coast and subduction zone. California's Coast Ranges resulted in part from such activity, but at Olympic National Park in Washington State, the results are nothing short of spectacular. The mountains have been pushed up into a series of peaks exceeding 7,000 feet in elevation, and with the intense amounts of snowfall, there are a surprising number of active glaciers.
Looking north from Hurricane Ridge across the Juan de Fuca Strait to Vancouver Island
Our trip reconnaissance this week took us to Hurricane Ridge, which has now become a newcomer to my list of the most incredible places I have ever stood. The view is astounding (when conditions are clear). We could look deep in the heart of the park at Mount Olympus, and could see north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria Island. A marvelous place!

3 comments:

Cathy Crandall said...

I agree with your assessment that Hurricane Ridge is amazing. I've lived most of my life in Oregon, but it took me until 2012 to get there. Why did I wait so long????

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pics. When I was there, we were surrounded by heavy, cloudy mist. It made the trees stand out.

PS. If you've time, I recommend Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island. Parts of it are old quarries.

http://www.butchartgardens.com/

Katrina said...

Hurricane Ridge is definitely on my list of most incredible places I've stood too.