Millions of years ago, Sunset Bay was part of a large delta where layer after layer of silt, sand, and marine deposits were laid down over eons, creating sedimentary rocks. Once flat, these layers were tilted upward by plate tectonics as the Pacific plate crashed into and sank under the North America continent. Varying layers of hard and soft rock attacked by waves, wind, storms and salt crystals have created beautiful rock sculptures like this one.
Landscape photography is known for its grand views. I enjoy those views, always, but I am also intrigued by small things that catch my eye, a leaf perhaps, or a rock. Today I am going to focus more on the ‘up close and personal’ part of Sunset Bay and Shore Acres State Parks on the Oregon coast as well as touch on the geology of the area. This is my Friday photographic essay. Enjoy.
A close up of the tilted sedimentary rock shown in the opening photo. The holes in the rock at the right, BTW, are created by growing salt crystals from salt left behind by tides and waves. Algae grows on the sides of the holes and limits the growth of the crystals, thus creating the rounded shapes.
I found this view of the weathered sedimentary rocks at Sunset Bay fascinating. The late afternoon sun added the color. The white rocks had broken free from one of the sedimentary layers.
Here, the sedimentary layers stretch out along the beach creating a ‘path.’
The next door Shore Acres State Park provides a different perspective on the erosive forces of nature on the tilted sandstone and siltstone rocks.
A different perspective of the Shore Acres coastline.
This weird rock is known as a concretion. Calcite forms around a small object such as a broken shell. Layer after layer is applied (think pearl in an oyster) until you get a rock like this.
If one is good, more are better, right?
I figured this was just driftwood on the beach until I did some research. Apparently, this is the root system of an ancient spruce. A massive earthquake struck approximately 1200 years ago and sank major portions of the coast, covering local forests with water. The earthquake was the result of plate tectonics where the Pacific Plate is crashing up against and sinking under the North American continent. Known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone along the Oregon coast, this geological region is still active today and is threatening a major earthquake in the not too distant future. Coastal communities are all involved in disaster planning. We are told that if the Applegate Dam above our house breaks, flood waters will crest right about where we live, even though we are high above the river.
Just for fun, I found this ivy leaf adding a splash of green to the beach.
A rock added a dash of yellow…
Another yellow rock, which is part of an exposed sedimentary layer, displays a single barnacle.
This one had a whole tribe of barnacles.
Ever since I was a little kid visiting with my grandparents on the Central California coast, I have been unable to resist tide pools. These are sea anemones— an oldster and a youngster. The tentacles carry a toxin that is injected into prey such as a small fish. The prey is then moved to the center and stuffed into its mouth, which also serves as its anus, a fact I am sure you were just dying to learn!
This seaweed exists in the intertidal zone and is built with dense root system to grab onto rocks and withstand crashing waves. Recent storm had succeeded in breaking this one free. Tracks show that a seagull has stopped by to check it out. I also liked the reflection captured by water that barely covers the sand.
Another reflection shot, which includes seagulls.
And a seagull up close with a touch of attitude that says feed me! Check out the knobby knees.
Peggy has roots. This magnificent tree has been on the beach for a while.
I’ll use this fantastic creature that lives next door in Shore Acres State Park to wrap up today’s photo essay blog. I’ve used this jumble of roots in a previous blog.
Monday’s Blog: Revolutionary Boston and its message for today. Peggy and I were just there and walked the Revolutionary Trail. “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” —Longfellow
Wednesday’s Blog: The Sierra Trek Part 3— Meet the incredible cast of characters that sign up to go; travel with Steve and me as we preview the route and Steve pees around the camp to scare away bears.
Friday’s Blog: It’s time to start thinking about Burning Man! Sign up is in February. For the next few weeks, I’ll be digging into my archive of thousands of Burning Man photos taken over a ten-year period for my Friday photograph essays.
My apologies to all of my blog friends for my slowness in responding to comments and tardiness in reading blogs over the past month. I will catch up. After a month of travel and visiting family (including five grandsons) on the East Coast, Peggy and I returned to some of the same weather that many of you have been facing. Our property was buried under two feet of snow. As a result, much of my time has been spent shoveling snow off of driveways and roofs, dealing with power outages and frozen pipes, and trying to persuade a roaring creek that it does not want to run down our driveway. Some fun! We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, however. Or at least the dirt under the snow.