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Devils Backbone, North Fork John Day River, Grant Co., Oregon, USA

This page kindly sponsored by Douglas Merson
Lock Map
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 44° 58' 49'' North , 119° 11' 54'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 44.98028,-119.19861
GeoHash:G#: 9rgpzs6jp
Köppen climate type:Csb : Warm-summer Mediterranean climate

Zeolites occur along the road along the North Fork of the John Day River, in Grant County, Oregon. The best site known as Devils Backbone is named after the ridge intersecting the river 12.5 miles west of Highway 395 from the Camas Creek Bridge. The site was first found in the 1960's by Isabelle Mattison when the road was made for logging. The road was gated and locked until the 1970's, when Rudy Tschernich relocated the site.

Zeolites are abundant in a hard black basalt. The basalt flows belong to the Picture Gorge member of the Columbia River Basalt Group and is of Miocene age (Radiometric date of 16.5 m.y.o.). The basalt is massive to columnar with the cavities elongated in the flow direction.

Collecting in the cliff is difficult although large boulders often fall down to the road in the winter making it easy to collect in them in the spring.

Rudy Tschernich

Mineral List

9 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

2.588 - 23.03 Ma

ID: 3186305
Cenozoic volcanic rocks

Age: Neogene (2.588 - 23.03 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Columbia River Basalt

Comments: Columbia Plateau

Lithology: Flood basalt(s); mafic volcanic rocks; basalt

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

5.333 - 23.03 Ma

ID: 1515777
Neogene volcanic rocks

Age: Miocene (5.333 - 23.03 Ma)

Description: Columbia River Group, undivided; lava flows; mixed lithologies; basalt

Lithology: Major:: {basalt flows, lithology: andesite to rhyolite}

Reference: R.L. Smith, W.P. Roe (compilers). Oregon Geologic Data Compilation, release 6. State of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. [20]

Middle Miocene - Early Miocene
11.62 - 23.03 Ma

ID: 2982078
Picture Gorge Basalt

Age: Miocene (11.62 - 23.03 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Picture Gorge Basalt

Description: Flows of aphyric and plagioclase porphyritic flood basalt. Potassium-argon ages mostly 15.0 to 16.4 Ma (Watkins and Baksi, 1974; Fiebelkorn and others, 1983)

Comments: In La Grande 30' x 60' quadrangle (OR291), unit includes Dayville Basalt, Monument Mountain Basalt, and Twickenham Basalt, all middle Miocene

Lithology: Major:{basalt}

Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. [133]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Tschernich, R.W. (1989) Zeolites along the North Fork of the John Day River, Grant County, Oregon. Micro Probe: 6(8): 10-13.
Tschernich, R.W. (1992) Zeolites of the World. Geoscience Press, Phoenix, Arizona.
Tschernich, R.W. (1993) Gismondine from the North Fork of the John Day River, Grant County, Central Oregon. Micro Probe: 7(8): 18-19.

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