Over hill and dale along I-5

One doesn’t have to be bored while traveling along I-5 north from Medford. There’s a lot of geology to see spicing up the most jaded traveler’s trip.  Keep an eye out on the changing landscape and road cuts — all but the driver of course, else you end up as a hood ornament on a Peterbilt truck.

As you leave our valley, the canyon walls steepen and the terrain roughens. You’re entering the 173- to 136...

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Rusty rocks and bloody stones

Have you ever wondered why soils and rocks have different colors? The colors are due to the wonder of chromophores.

No, chromophores aren’t commercially available products designed to add gleam to metal bumpers or shine to the top of bald-men’s heads. Chromophores (from the Greek chroma for color) are chemicals that produce colors.

Without getting into the intricate details of chemistry, the physical earth’s most common coloring agent is iron, which can occur....

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Nibbling away at the Earth

Have you ever noticed anyone pulled off the side of the road, car doors wide open and licking or nibbling on rocks taken from a road cut? Think they’re crazy? They just might be a touch daft or geologists or both.
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Plants grow where the geology is right

The keen observer has likely noticed horizontal bands of different vegetation along the hillsides northeast of our valley. Their presence is in part determined by the underlying geology.
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Massive landslides are part of our past

After the tragic landslide in Washington, I've had people ask whether it can happen in our valley. The short answer is yes " but it depends.
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Region's volcanic rocks have gassy past

If you look at lava flows — such as in the Lava Beds National Monument or along highways 140 or 66 east of the Bear Creek Valley — you might notice little round holes in some flows, especially near their tops.
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