Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Photo(s)

One of the stops on my road trip last week was Cape Perpetua, on the Oregon coast. It's a fascinating place, because it's a spot where an old volcanic flow ended up hitting some form of water (I believe it was the water it's in now, the Pacific Ocean, but I'm not a geologist).

These pictures are from one interesting bit of that area, the Devil's Churn. Why is it called the Devil's Churn? Let's look at it from atop the little hill to the south:
Image credit: All photos by Cujo359

That's a view of the mouth of the Churn. It's a bit distorted, as I had to paste three rather widely spaced pictures together into a panorama to be able to show that much of it. Still, you get the idea. It's formed out of a cut in the volcanic rock (basalt mostly, I'm told) that was laid down there a few million years ago.

I suppose if it had been named by Twentieth Century explorers instead of explorers from the 19th Century, it might have been called the "Devil's Wash Cycle", because all those waves from the ocean end up crashing this way and that on the steep walls of this cut in the rock remind me an awful lot of what the clothes in a washing machine look like while they're being agitated:

Here's a picture of the mouth of the Churn from ground level:

As people familiar with the ocean shore will note, we caught this beach at low tide. For those who aren't familiar, note that the soil is worn away from the rocks to a level much higher than the water is at the moment. That's one way to tell.

Here's a photo of the middle part of the Churn:

And here's the inland end of it:

I'm not sure why this particular bit of rock was cut away so much more than the surrounding basalt. It might be that there was some softer form of rock here, or it could have been softer basalt that was worn away. Basalt varies considerably in how crystallized it is, and how hard, so it seems possible. But then, as I may have mentioned, I'm not a geologist.

As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them, and have a good Sunday. By the way, if anyone who knows what he (or she) is talking about wants to make a correction or clarification, please feel free to comment.


Suzanne said...

wow, gorgeous and i would love to know how it was created too.

Cujo359 said...

So would I. All I know for sure is that given enough time, water can cut through just about any rock. It usually finds a soft spot, though, to cut a channel like this one.

Lockwood said...

The churn is eroded along a fault. More often than not, faults are multiple, intersecting fractures which create a "crush zone" of broken rock. This zone can weather and erode much faster than the surrounding, unbroken material. A number of coves in this area seem to have the same overall pattern, but in this case, it's taken to an extreme.