Date: April 7, 2012
Tonight’s Location: Bullard’s Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon
Weather: partly sunny
Temperature: start 42º
Wildlife count: Pelagic Cormorant, Earred Grebe, Common and Pacific Loons, Western Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Surf Scoter, Harbor Seal, California Sea Lion
Left home at 7:45, bound for Charleston at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology at the Boat House. It was our first Master Naturalist class for this year and it was about geology and the people who live here today and in the past. It was fascinating! It began with a skit – Pam and Tyna and I dressed up like birds, Common Murre, Black Oystercatcher, and a Tufted Puffin respectively. The idea was to ask the folks questions, which won prizes for them. The last question was who knew an answer but didn’t get to give that answer? Those with their hands up got a water balloon aimed at them. The whole idea was that at SEA (Shoreline Education for Awareness), we have a lot of fun.
The first class revolved around the geology of the area. We learned a LOT about Tsunamis, and the Cascadian event that may happen here at any time (a huge earthquake with resulting Tsunami). From the research, we are due for one here on the coast anytime.
We also discussed the rock cycle – igneous rock flows from a volcano; that rock is eroded and broken into pieces by waves/wind/sand action. Those pieces are swept into rivers/oceans, and settle to form muck at the bottom of the ocean, which harden into sedimentary rock. Finally, that sedimentary rock is pressured and possibly heated into metamorphic rock, which at some point, is subducted toward the center of the earth, where it is melted to form lava again. I’ve taught those 3 rock groups for many years, but I guess I had never thought of them as a cycle, much like the water cycle. It was very interesting!
Classroom discussion was in the morning, followed by lunch outdoors on the deck overlooking the bay. It was a lovely day outdoors, so most of us took advantage of the opportunity.
After cleaning up the Boathouse, we convened at Shore Acres State Park, and walked the seaside path, with explanations of middens, concretions, seaside formations, and Native American livelihoods.
We looked at concretions, shaped like turtles. Are those petrified turtles? No, these are concretions found in lithified sandstone. Violent winter waves crash over this elevated layer of sandstone causing the exposure of these concretions, which are harder than surrounding substrate. Wave action also forms the cupping found in the substrate and concretions.
Layers of marine sediment that have lithified (hardened) and been uplifted during the convergence of the Juan de Fuca Plate and the North American Plate (Cascadia Subduction Zone). The layers are being tilted at an angle due to the uplifting process.
The majority of the afternoon was led by a Native American, who is part of the Coquille and Coos tribes, holding many offices, as well as an educator. He took us on the hike at Shore Acres, stopping at many places to tell the stories of his people and what this land might have looked like 150 years ago. It was fascinating!
On the way home, we stopped a bought a few pansies to restore our flower pots for Easter. We thawed brats and mac & cheese that Kay had made and had a quick supper. By 6 pm, we were at the Presbyterian Church to hear Bill sing in the Community Cantata. It was excellent – with many great voices – the church was filled.
Could not resist a very tiny Blizzard from the local DQ while we sat and watched the tide go out at Coquille Point – a wonderful way to end a terrific day.