|Umtanum Ridge Water Gap|
|Location||central Washington state|
Umtanum Ridge Water Gap is a geologic feature in central Washington state in the United States. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980.
The Umtanum Ridge Water is a water gap cut by the Yakima River through Manastash and Umtanum Ridge anticlines, which are part of the Yakima Fold Belt near the western edge of the Columbia River Plateau located in central Washington. This National Natural Landmark is characterized by a series of steep-sided ridges in the Columbia River basalt which are cut through axially by the Yakima River. It is also referred to as the Yakima River Canyon, and is located between the cities of Ellensburg and Yakima. Washington State Route 821, originally the main route between Ellensburg and Yakima, parallels the river through the canyon.
The great basalt flows of the Columbia Basin and of the Ellensburg Formation, in some places over 5000 meters (17,000 feet) thick, have been folded into ridges (anticlines) and valleys (synclines) running roughly east–west as a result of north–south compression. On its way to join the Columbia River, the Yakima River cuts from the Kittitas Valley southward through four major ridges formed by this compression: the Manastash Ridge, the Umtanum Ridge, the Yakima Ridge, and the Ahtanum Ridge to reach the Yakima Valley.
The highest ridge through which the Yakima flows, the Umtanum Ridge, rises to 983 meters (3225 feet) within 1 km of the river, which lies at about 470 meters (1542 feet) in elevation at the closest point. This unusual juxtaposition (rivers cutting through ridges rather than flowing through apparently more favorable routes) is an example of geologic precedence. The ancient Yakima River is believed to have been there, flowing southward above the relatively flat basalt layers. As the layers compressed, the anticlines slowly rose. The river continued to follow its historic course, cutting downward through the basalt to maintain a relative level. This view is supported by the significant meanders found in the canyon today; when a river has meanders, they tend to be preserved in rock as the river eats into a rising anticline.
|Umtanum Ridge at the point where it bifurcates into north & south ridges|
|Umtanum Water Gap of the Yakima Canyon|
The Yakima River is a tributary of the Columbia River in south central and eastern Washington state, named for the indigenous Yakama people. The length of the river from headwaters to mouth is 214 miles (344 km), with an average drop of 9.85 feet per mile (1.866 m/km). It is the longest river entirely in Washington state.
The Missoula floods were cataclysmic glacial lake outburst floods that swept periodically across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Gorge at the end of the last ice age. These events have been researched since the 1920s. These were the result of periodic sudden ruptures of the ice dam on the Clark Fork River that created Glacial Lake Missoula. After each ice dam rupture, the waters of the lake would rush down the Clark Fork and the Columbia River, flooding much of eastern Washington and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. After the rupture, the ice would reform, creating Glacial Lake Missoula again.
Lake Missoula was a prehistoric proglacial lake in western Montana that existed periodically at the end of the last ice age between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. The lake measured about 7,770 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) and contained about 2,100 cubic kilometres (500 cu mi) of water, half the volume of Lake Michigan.
The Grand Coulee is an ancient river bed in the U.S. state of Washington. This National Natural Landmark stretches for about 60 miles (100 km) southwest from Grand Coulee Dam to Soap Lake, being bisected by Dry Falls into the Upper and Lower Grand Coulee.
The Channeled Scablands at one time were a relatively barren and soil-free region of interconnected relict and dry flood channels, coulees and cataracts eroded into Palouse loess and the typically flat-lying basalt flows that remain after cataclysmic floods within the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington. The channeled scablands were scoured by more than 40 cataclysmic floods during the Last Glacial Maximum and innumerable older cataclysmic floods over the last two million years. These cataclysmic floods were repeatedly unleashed when a large glacial lake repeatedly drained and swept across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Plateau during the Pleistocene epoch. The last of the cataclysmic floods occurred between 18,200 and 14,000 years ago.
The Palouse River is a tributary of the Snake River in Washington and Idaho, in the northwest United States. It flows for 167 miles (269 km) southwestwards, primarily through the Palouse region of southeastern Washington. It is part of the Columbia River Basin, as the Snake River is a tributary of the Columbia River.
A kolk (colc) is an underwater vortex created when rapidly rushing water passes an underwater obstacle in boundary areas of high shear. High-velocity gradients produce a violently rotating column of water, similar to a tornado. Kolks can pluck multiple-ton blocks of rock and transport them in suspension for thousands of metres.
Wallula Gap is a large water gap of the Columbia River through the Horse Heaven Hills basalt anticlines in the Columbia River Basin in the U.S. state of Washington, just south of the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers. It has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service as a site that provides an important illustration of the geological history of the United States.
The Touchet Formation or Touchet beds consist of large quantities of gravel and fine sediment which overlay almost a thousand meters of volcanic basalt of the Columbia River Basalt Group in south-central Washington and north-central Oregon. The beds consist of between 6 and 40 distinct rhythmites – horizontal layers of sediment, each clearly demarcated from the layer below. These Touchet beds are often covered by windblown loess soils which were deposited later; the number of layers varies with location. The beds vary in depth from 330 ft (100 m) at lower elevations where a number of layers can be found to a few extremely thin layers at the maximum elevation where they are observed.
Lake Lewis was a temporary lake in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, largely formed by the Missoula Floods in about the 14th millennium B.C.
Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark showcases the Drumheller Channels, which are the most significant example in the Columbia Plateau of basalt butte-and-basin Channeled Scablands. This National Natural Landmark is an extensively eroded landscape, located in south central Washington state characterized by hundreds of isolated, steep-sided hills (buttes) surrounded by a braided network of numerous channels, all but one of which are currently dry. It is a classic example of the tremendous erosive powers of extremely large floods such as those that reformed the Columbia Plateau volcanic terrain during the late Pleistocene glacial Missoula Floods.
Sims Corner Eskers and Kames National Natural Landmark of Douglas County, Washington and nearby McNeil Canyon Haystack Rocks and Boulder Park natural landmarks contain excellent examples of Pleistocene glacial landforms. Sims Corner Eskers and Kames National Natural Landmark includes classic examples of ice stagnation landforms such as glacial erratics, terminal moraines, eskers, and kames. It is located on the Waterville Plateau of the Columbia Plateau in north central Washington state in the United States.
Moses Coulee is a canyon in the Waterville plateau region of Douglas County, Washington. Moses Coulee is the second-largest and westernmost canyon of the Channeled Scablands, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the west of the larger Grand Coulee. This water channel is now dry, but during glacial periods, large outburst floods with discharges greater than 600,000 m3/s (21,000,000 cu ft/s) carved the channel. While it's clear that megafloods from Glacial Lake Missoula passed through and contributed to the erosion of Moses Coulee, the origins of the coulee are less clear. Some researchers propose that floods from glacial Lake Missoula formed Moses Coulee, while others suggest that subglacial floods from the Okanogan Lobe incised the canyon. The mouth of Moses Coulee discharges into the Columbia River.
State Route 821 (SR 821) is a state highway in central Washington state. It runs for 25 miles (40 km) through the Yakima Canyon, following the meandering Yakima River between Selah and Ellensburg. Both ends of the highway are at interchanges with Interstate 82 (I-82) and U.S. Route 97 (US 97).
The Saddle Mountains consists of an upfolded anticline ridge of basalt in Grant County of central Washington state. The ridge, reaching to 2,700 feet, terminates in the east south of Othello, Washington near the foot of the Drumheller Channels. It continues to the west where it is broken at Sentinel Gap before ending in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
The Columbia Plateau ecoregion is a Level III ecoregion designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encompassing approximately 32,100 square miles (83,139 km2) of land within the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The ecoregion extends across a wide swath of the Columbia River Basin from The Dalles, Oregon to Lewiston, Idaho to Okanogan, Washington near the Canada–US border. It includes nearly 500 miles (800 km) of the Columbia River, as well as the lower reaches of major tributaries such as the Snake and Yakima rivers and the associated drainage basins. It is named for the Columbia River Plateau, a flood basalt plateau formed by the Columbia River Basalt Group during the late Miocene and early Pliocene. The arid sagebrush steppe and grasslands of the region are flanked by moister, predominantly forested, mountainous ecoregions on all sides. The underlying basalt is up to 2 miles (3 km) thick and partially covered by thick loess deposits. Where precipitation amounts are sufficient, the deep loess soils have been extensively cultivated for wheat. Water from the Columbia River is subject to resource allocation debates involving fisheries, navigation, hydropower, recreation, and irrigation, and the Columbia Basin Project has dramatically converted much of the region to agricultural use.
Umtanum Ridge is a long anticline mountain ridge in Yakima County and Kittitas County in the U.S. state of Washington. It runs for approximately 55 miles east-southeast from the Cascade Range, through the Yakima Training Center to the edge of the Columbia River at Priest Rapids Dam and Hanford Reach. The eastern end of Umtanum Ridge enters Hanford Reach National Monument and the Hanford Site. Umtanum Ridge is paralleled on the north by Manastash Ridge and on the south by Yakima Ridge. The Yakima River cuts through the ridge at the Umtanum Ridge Water Gap.
Yakima Ridge is a long anticline mountain ridge in Yakima County and Benton County in the U.S. state of Washington. From its western end just north of the city of Yakima, the ridge runs east-southeast through the Yakima Training Center to its eastern end at Hanford Reach National Monument and the Hanford Site. Yakima Ridge is paralleled on the north by Umtanum Ridge and on the south by the Rattlesnake Hills. Moxee Valley and Black Rock Valley lie south of Yakima Ridge.
The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail iwas designated as the first National Geologic Trail in the United States. It consists of a network of routes connecting facilities that will provide interpretation of the geological consequences of the Glacial Lake Missoula floods of the last glacial period that began about 110,000 years ago. It includes sites in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
The Yakima Fold Belt of south-central Washington, also called the Yakima fold-and-thrust belt, is an area of topographical folds raised by tectonic compression. It is a 14,000 km2 (5,400 sq mi) structural-tectonic sub province of the western Columbia Plateau Province resulting from complex and poorly understood regional tectonics. The folds are associated with geological faults whose seismic risk is of particular concern to the nuclear facilities at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and major dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.