Giant Lava Flows – Video

Giant Lava Flows – Video

In this fascinating episode of “Nick on the Rocks,” geology professor Nick Zentner takes us to “ground zero” where the Columbia River basalts originated.

More than volcanic 300 eruptions between 15 and 17 million years ago flooded much of the inland Pacific northwest.

These lava flows – some of the largest lava flows in the world – are known as the Columbia River basalts because the Columbia River has cut deeply enough to expose some of the flows.

In some cases these orange rivers of molten rock traveled more than 300 miles, totally burying more than a third of what is now Washington state.

The lavas erupted from giant cracks that can still be found today, and Nick takes you there.

Nick discusses the rich volcanic soil of eastern Washington – more than 100 feet deep in places – and shows us “spatter,” a kind of basalt that he describes as looking “almost like butter.” (I fail to see the likeness, but maybe I’d change my mind if I saw the “butter” in person.)

Nick Zentner is the science outreach and education coordinator for the Department of Geological Sciences at Central Washington University. He has produced more than 40 short videos about Central Washington geology.

I’ll be posting more fascinating episodes of “Nick on the Rocks” in the days to come.

10 thoughts on “Giant Lava Flows – Video

  1. Amazing, and he didn’t say climate change or carbon dioxide even once! Thanks Robert. This was informative. This “eruption” must be an awful lot like the one they just had in Iceland, just on a “slightly” larger scale. Okay, more than slightly. If volcanic eruption intensity is measured by the volume of lava that flowed out of the ground, where would these eruptions he speaks of rate out at if the was standing on “miles deep, flows 300 miles long?”

  2. Almost first thing Nick points out is the link between volcanic soils based on basalt and having great soils for growing crops in. Just add water and you could grow anything appropriate for the climate zone. The secret is the broad spectrum of chemical elements found in basalt….

    • SSSHH, your not supposed to tell everyone there is free fertilizer all over the earth. Free, except for the hauling and grinding ,not sold in stores suggests to me it would destroy the synthetic fertilizer industry. Look up Rock dust or Azomite. Cool video- now, one only can wonder what the planetary alignment or the sunspot count was back then. Not sure bit I think Azomite stands for A-Z Of Minerals In The Earth.

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