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The Columbia River Gorge with its picturesque temperate rainforest and fabulous waterfalls deeply cuts into a deluge of basaltic lava. The subducting ocean plate along the coast line caused a thinning of the Earths crust inland of the volcanic Cascade Range chain due to geological process called back-arc spreading. This repeatedly caused volcanic fissures to crack open between 17 and 6 million years ago along the western Stateline of Idaho. 16 million years ago, stupendous outpourings of fluid basaltic lava flooded major parts of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The lava even reached the Pacific Ocean through a channel that resembles today's Columbia River Gorge. The fairytale like atmosphere of the forest and the waterfalls effectively conceals the destructive past of this landscape.

August 2008
Canon 20D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm, f/22, 4 sec, ISO 100, tripod

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