What the Columbia River Flood Basalts Teach Us

What the Columbia River Flood Basalts Teach Us

The Columbia River Basalt Group is an eruption of lava resulting in inflows with a thickness of more than 5,900 ft (1.8 km). The flows reached the ocean from Eastern Oregon and forced the Columbia River into a new course. For a perspective considering the recent eruption in Iceland, the Columbia River Basalt Group could cover all of Iceland. The Columbia River flood basalts are associated with climate change and occurred at that same time as a period of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and some lesser marine extinctions. The Columbia River Flood basalts remind us that our landscape is shaped by a massive movement of the Earth and we are just riding on the surface.

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