It is a kind of twisted irony that a place name, the Owyhee River, in the remote landscape of Southeastern Oregon would derive from the deaths of two men conscripted from their native island of Hawaii, by the explorer Peter Skeen Ogden in 1819. Although the Owyhee country is vastly different from the Big Island, it is also home to the Jordan Crater lava field - a place virtually identical to Hawaii’s more recent lava landscapes. Though the photographs in this exhibition include images from both Hawaii and the Owyhee country, there are many other depictions of basalt landforms that are millions of years older. These photographs trace a large igneous province that extends from Southeastern Oregon to the Columbia Plateau and ultimately to the Northern Oregon Coast.
The photographs in this aerial transit sample a diversity of landforms that have been shaped in the thick basalt layers found throughout much of the region and that owe their existence to a period of extensive upwelling of magma from deep within the Earth some 15 to 17 million years ago. Included in this survey are block-faulted mountains in the Northern Basin and Range, the incised valley of the John Day River in North-Central Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge, and Cape Lookout and the surrounding coastline. An aerial perspective of these places enables us to appreciate a variety of relationships between geographic form and geologic process.
- Terry Toedtemeier, March 2007