Talk:Columbia Plateau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


There should be some clarification of the fossils section. that i am aware there have not been any insects found associated with the Columbia basin deposits. Could someone wipe my dildo? Kevmin 22:24, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


I don't see the relation between the Columbia River Plateau and the Interior Plateau. I have lived in Washington all of my life and am actively interested in the geology of the state, but i have not hear of the Columbia plateau being considered part of the Interior Plateau of British Columbia. I would recommend against merging these articles. Kevmin 03:46, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree and removed the template. --mav 00:40, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Did you read the article? It's mostly about the Columbia River Plateau. It's an orphaned fragment, and should be merged. heqs 17:29, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it is a fragment. It should be expanded into a full article. I do not agree that it should be merged with the Interior plateau. The Columbia Plateau is of totally different origins. Do you have references for the inclusion of the CRP into the IP?Kevmin 23:12, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
All I'm saying is the relevant content from History of the Interior Plateau, not Interior Plateau, should be merged into this article. heqs 07:48, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Ahh, I understand. I thought that the proposal was to merge all three articles, my mistake. Yes the relative content from the "history" page should be merged to this and other aprop. pages and it should be made a redirect to the "interior Plateau" page. I would suggest a small explanation placed with the merge notices would have helped to prevent misunderstanding. Kevmin 18:04, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Origin of Columbia Plateau[edit]

My geological reference material suggests that 'Generations of geologists' have sort of lumped the besaltic lava flows of the Miocene times as if it were a single event called the "Columbia lava Plateau" the author I'm looking at "David D. Alt and Donald Hyndman" in a 1978 work entitled "Roadside Geology of Oregon", prefers to break down the flow in smaller pieces. This appears to be consistent with the green map. He assigns the source of this flow as the 'Grand Ronde Volcano which he describes as perhaps the largest volcano on earth which put out basaltic flows that made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Is this consistent with what others are finding?Rvannatta 01:54, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

You may want to look at the slightly similar Columbia River Basalt Group, which includes the Grande Ronde flows. Also, you might want to remove Portland and Cannon Beach. They are on the green of the map, but that is the basalt flows and not the plateau. As the lead says, the plateau is east of the Cascades. Aboutmovies 02:49, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

made the changes you suggested and added the Basalt group as a 'See also'.

There seems to be little question that the Grande Ronde lava flows flooded into the pacific after crowding down which is now essentially the Columbia river. Clearly if one wants to apply a geographical definition to the columbia river plateau then limiting it to east of the cascades is probably ok, but that definition makes little sense in a geological sense.

The recognition of the presence of the columbia basalt is critical to understanding of the geology of the far northwest Oregon.Rvannatta 03:45, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Map and caption[edit]

The caption says the green area represents the plateau, while the map itself says that that's the Columbia River Basalt Group, and the plateau is vaguely defined by the title "Columbia Plateau" in red. So what are the actual boundaries of the plateau? Katr67 04:13, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I fiddled with the lead, but the article still says later that the plateau and Columbia Basin are synonymous. But the basin is the watershed of the river, isn't it? Katr67 04:20, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I think you are mostly right about the Columbia Basin and the Columbia Plateau not being synonymous – although I suspect the terms are often used loosely and in differing ways. I've seen the term "Columbia Basin" used to refer to the general "plateau" area as well as the lands of the Columbia Basin Project. Another term I've seen a bit is the Columbia Plain, or the Great Columbia Plain, the Great Plain of the Columbia, etc. There's even a book called the Great Columbia Plain. The definition in that book is based more on history and culture than on geology, but is fairly close to the "plateau" definition. The author claims the term (or similar variants) was in common usage for a long time before being somewhat replaced with terms like "Columbia Plateau", "Columbia Basin", "Inland Empire", and others that refer to a somewhat similar area. It denoted, according to this book, the region east of the Cascades through which the Columbia and Snake flow, in which there are few trees and in which the land is relatively flat compared to the rugged mountains around it. I can't find an online map of it offhand, but it is basically defined as the region east of the Cascade Range, north of the Blue Mountains, west of the Rocky Mountains, and south of the Okanagan Highland – including the Palouse, Channeled scablands, the Columbia Basin Project area, the Walla Walla region north of the Blue Mountains, the Kittitas Valley around Ellensburg, the Yakima Valley, the Horse Heaven Hills – and in Oregon the agricultural regions south of the Columbia River between The Dalles and the Pendleton area – and in Idaho the Palouse region extending into the Nez Perce area southeast of Lewiston (you can see this region pretty clearly as flatter and lower than the mountains around it on the map on the Blue Mountains (Oregon) page). It seems to me that this general area is often what people mean when they say "Columbia Plateau" or "Columbia Basin" – at least in the United States, and with many variations, like whether the Okanagan River valley is included. On the other hand, both terms are also used in other senses for larger areas. In short, it seems to me that there is a fairly well defined region there that lots of people understand to exist, but without a generally accepted name. Tricky.. (much of the book's definition as well as the notion that modern maps have "lost the region's name" is readable on the amazon webpage for the book) Pfly 05:55, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I think I agree there is a geographical region probably centered on the Palouse. My problem with the leadin sentence was that it equated the geographical region with the geological region which drives a conclusion that the most magnificant display of Columbia Plateau basalt in the region (Crown Point) is not..... Rvannatta 13:37, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

If I were to propose a 'fix' it would be to change the lead in sentence of the section to recognize that the geographical and geological boundaries of the Columbia River Plateau were not the same. To simply deny that the basalt poured through the Cascade range and into the Pacific ocean while displaying map showing that it did, makes not a lot of sense.Rvannatta 13:46, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Rvannatta, I think you're onto something. If the term means different things in a geological or geographical context, it's absolutely essential that the lead take note of that. Katr's point about the caption is dead-on, too; if that map is used as the main image in the article, people will tend to assume that the large green blob is the plateau, and if that's not the case, that should be made very explicit. -Pete 19:37, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Further Reading[edit]

A River Lost is about the Columbia River hydroproject and related topics. I haven't read it yet but it looks fascinating. It might be more suitable for use in the hydroproject article, but if you have room on your reading list, you might want to check it out.[1]

  1. ^ Harden, Blaine (1996). A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-0393316902. 

Katr67 18:46, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion. The book I've been drooling over is Cadillac Desert, which among other things covers the 1960s plan to divert the Columbia to California – apparently interrupted only due to Scoop Jackson's seniority in the Senate – and the failure of the Snake River dam that signaled the end of the "taming of the West." Looks like a great read. Amazon page -Pete 18:56, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
There's also a PBS documentary on Cadillac Desert that is excellent. Not sure what the availability of that is, it looks like PBS took down their page on it and it's unavailable on Amazon. I saw it during a History of the American West class, so it's probably in a few college collections. Katr67 20:38, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
This is probably what you are looking for: Cadillac desert [videorecording] : water and the transformation of nature / Produced by KTEH/San Jose and Trans Pacific Television, San Jose, Calif. : KTEH/San Jose and TransPacific Television ; distributed by Home Vision Select, 1997. But it doesn't appear to be specific to the Columbia River. Mdazey 21:32, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
No, it's not specific to the Columbia. Katr67 21:34, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

proposed solution.[edit]

the authority I have been looking at addresses the issue in debate somewhat and it makes some sense.

"A large fault just east of Hood River trends from north to south and has raised the country west of it about 1000 feet during the last few million years. The area east of the Hood River fault is noticeably lower than that to the west and it makes a convenient place to draw a topographic line between the lave Plateau and the Cascade Mountains. The narrow gorge of the Columbia River changes at Hood River to a more open canyon that extends to the east, lined on both sides by ledges of plateau basalt"[1]

This seems to me to be a reasonable way to resolve the issue. I would therefore propose as follows:

1) the "Geological" be stricken from the lead in. ---- it's wrong. 2) The USGS map caption be clarified to acknowledge that it represents the extent of the Plateau lava flows. 3) That the geology section be 'enhanced' to include at least the first 2 sentences of my quotation, along with an explanation although the plateau basalt extends all the way to the present Pacific Ocean as shown in green that the 'Columbia Plateau or Columbia Basin' which I am inclined to equate as the same,is the portion of that basalt flow east of the Hood River fault.

this probably implies that the city of Hood River should be stricken from the list of plateau cities as well since the 'convenient...topographic line' is east of Hood River (and probably explains the existence of the Hood River Valley).Rvannatta 01:04, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ Alt, David D; Donald W. Hyndman (2003) [1978]. Roadside Geology of Oregon (17th Printing ed.). Missoula, Montana,: Mountain Press Publishing Company. p. 181. ISBN 0-87842-063-0.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)

Move/rename to Columbia Plateau[edit]

"Columbia River Plateau" sounds clunky; apparently it was used because "Columbia River" had been co-opted as a title by creators of the WWF ecoregion article, now titled Columbia Plateau (ecoregion), which I dismabiguated a while back, I believe....."Columbia Plateau" in its most common usage is a LOT bigger than the WWF-defined ecoregion, and I see no reason why the awkward "River" has to be in this article's title any further. it's a simple move, but not simple enough because of the intervening redirect and there may be citation/defintion/usage issues I'm unaware of; I'm too lazy today to start a formal articles-for-discussion rename though that is a recourse if there is no resopnse here.....anyone have any objections, orwaht are other issues?Skookum1 (talk) 13:42, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

name/redirect issue[edit]

This shouldn't have to be a disambiguatino page; the term Columbia River Plateau is an artificial construct (a "Wiki-ism") for which the most common and widespread usage is simply "Columbia Plateau"; the Columbia River Plateau page should be a redirect to this page, and the dab for the ecoregion is more than sufficient.Skookum1 (talk) 15:10, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

This should not be a disambiguation; this is the official name for the landform and should be hte main title for the mistitled Columbia River Plateau. The EPA ecoregion usage is entirely secondary and derived from this usage, and is not an original usage and can simply be a hatnote. Adding db-move to this so the plateau article can be moved to this title.Skookum1 (talk) 11:44, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
In reply to the speedy remove question: the simple and direct answer is that Columbia River Plateau was mis-titled from day one; someone may have created that name because the ecoregion people had already co-opted the name for their article, but the reality is the ecoregion is named after the landform, and the landform's OFFICIAL name is simply "Columbia Plateau". It doesn't occur in print any other way, except perhaps by people who've used Wikipedia to do their research. I'd think that's simple enough; the "most common usage" of Columbia Plateau is for the landform, and not for the ecoregion, and the ecoregion name is derived from that of the plateau. Inventing/creating "Columbia River Plateau", essentially, was original research/synthesis and is not citable.Skookum1 (talk) 21:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes check.svg DoneGedUK  07:09, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Geologic relation to Yellowstone?[edit]

i understand, that the Columbia plateau is about the same age, and derives from the same volcanic episodes, as the earliest (Snake River valley) episodes, of the Yellowstone hotspot. Not impossibly, the entire Columbia plateau + Basin & Range province + Yellowstone hotspot track all represent a single vast volcanic super-province, representing the surface effects, of all the intense heat, friction, melting etc. occurring deep under the North American continental crust, as NA obducts over oceanic ( Farallon) plate (talk) 20:09, 29 September 2012 (UTC)