First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2256; A Landing A Day blog post number 686.
Dan: Well, here I go again, landing in a state with multiple landings already – this is the fourth OR landing since I changed my lat/long procedure, 40 landings ago. Of course, OR is oversubscribed (OS) and of course my Score went up (from 942 to 948). If you’re wondering (and care) what I’m talking about, check out the tab “About Landing (Revisited),” above.
Here’s my regional landing map:
And my local landing map — with a sneak preview of my site drainage (the blue arrow):
You can see the towns of Plush and Adel. Trust me, they ain’t much, so I decided to feature the Warner Valley, which is the repository for any runoff leaving my landing location.
I zoomed back a little to show you that I have a little cluster of landings in this isolated patch of S-Cen Oregon (today’s is the eastern-most):
My watershed analysis will be Google Earth (GE) – based, so it’s time for my GE spaceflight in to S-Cen OR. Click HERE, enjoy the flight; then hit your back button.
I don’t know if you noticed, but it looks like I landed near a drainage divide. Take a look – the drainage on the left slopes north and the drainage on the right slopes south:
I backed up a little, put in some pins along the crest of the watershed, and drew a line showing the watershed boundary:
You can see that I landed in the Warner Valley watershed (barely), and therefore was able to feature the Warner Valley in this post. By the way, I’ve featured Malheur Lake (which is part of the now-notorious Malheur National Wildlife Refuge) in two separate posts, both using Burns, Oregon as the titular town.
As you can see on my local landing map (way above), Flagstaff Lake is the lowest point in the valley; the lakes further south increase in elevation. So technically, in the event of a large-enough rainfall, runoff will end up in Flagstaff Lake.
When researching Warner Valley, I discovered that this part of Oregon is part of the Basin and Range geologic (physiologic) province. I knew it included all of Nevada, but I wasn’t aware that southern Oregon lays claim to its fair share. Here’s a map showing the extent of the province (from USGS):
And here’s a detail of Oregon (from the State of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Resources), showing the Basin & Range, along with the other physiologic provinces in the state:
Anyway, here’s what the USGS has to say about the province:
Within the Basin and Range Province, the Earth’s crust (and upper mantle) has been stretched up to 100% of its original width. The entire region has been subjected to extension that thinned and cracked the crust as it was pulled apart, creating large faults. Along these roughly north-south-trending faults mountains were uplifted and valleys down-dropped, producing the distinctive alternating pattern of linear mountain ranges and valleys of the Basin and Range province.
The upthrown side of these faults form mountains that rise abruptly and steeply, and the down-dropped side creates low valleys. The fault plane, along which the two sides of the fault move, extends deep in the crust, usually an angle of 60 degrees. In places, the relief or vertical difference between the two sides is as much as 10,000 feet.
Here’s some more info from marlmillerphoto.com:
Geologically, the mountains rise and tilt along normal fault zones, while the basins drop and tilt along the faults. A simple cross-section across several ranges is illustrated in the diagram below.
Also from marlmillerphoto is this aerial shot of a typical basin and range landscape (this is from eastern Nevada):
You may have noticed that the USGS write-up above doesn’t actually address the underlying reason for the crustal stretching and faulting. It turns out that as huge and as in-your-face as the Basin & Range province is, there is still controversy and disagreement among geologists about the underlying mechanisms.
I’m happy enough with the following simple video (from The National Park Service):
So, the Warner Valley is a “basin” and the mountains to the east “Hart Mountain” are the “range.” Here’s a Wiki shot of Hart Mountain:
Quite dramatic. By the way, the next ridge to the west is 25 miles away.
Before diving into scenery photos, here’s a little tidbit from Wiki about the town Plush:
The name Plush is said to have derived from a mispronunciation of the word flush during a 19th century poker game played in the community. Daniel Boone, a relative of the famous Kentucky pathfinder of the same name, became postmaster in 1898 and opened a general store in conjunction with the post office.
I don’t buy it. No way someone meant to name it Flush, and they “mispronounced” it as Plush. As I have done in other similar circumstances, I’ve concocted a story about the name origin that’s a little more realistic:
A highly dramatic poker game was set up between two of the original settlers (Settler A and Settler B). The prize for the winner was to be able to name the town. The two gamblers agreed before hand that the name could not have anything to do with the given name of the winner.
So Settler A wins, thanks to a flush that won the biggest pot of the game. He announces that the name of the town would thenceforth be “Flush.”
Settler B says “Come on, A. That sounds like something you do when you clean out the chamber pot. How about Plush? There’s plenty of green out here in the valley.” And it was so agreed.
Time for some GE Panoramio photos. And this collection, in my opinion, is spectacular. They are shot in Warner Valley. I’ll start with this of Hart Mountain by Chris Earle:
And here’s an ethereal shot by Drew Maddox:
And this, of the Rabbit Hills (just west of Warner Valley) by Niche Spur:
And back to Hart mountain, this, also by Niche Spur:
Staying with Hart mountain, this by Oregon Natural Desert:
Here’s an artsy shot of one of the lakes by PRBrandon:
And this, from the top of Hart Mountain (looking SW), by RF Bolton:
I’ll close with tis Hart Mountain shot by PJ Murphy:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2016 A Landing A Day