Columbia Lava Plateau

Thick stacks of laterally extensive lava flows typify this flood basalt province. Almost everything about this volcanic province is impressive. The Columbia River Flood Basalt Province forms a plateau of 164,000 square kilometers between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains. In all, more than 300 individual large ( average volume 580 cubic km!) lava flows cover parts of the states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. At some locations, the lava is more than 3,500 m thick. The total volume of the volcanic province is 175,000 cubic km. Eruptions filled the Pasco Basin in the east and then sent flows westward into the Columbia River Gorge. About 85% of the province is made of the Grande Ronde Basalt with a volume of 149,000 cubic km (enough lava to bury all of the continental United States under 12 m of lava!) that erupted over an extended time period. Flows eventually reached the Pacific Ocean, about 300 to 600 km from their fissure vents. The Pomona flow traveled from west-central Idaho to the Pacific (600 km), making it the longest known lava flow on Earth (the major- and trace-element compositions of the flow do not change over its entire length).

Columbia lava plateau

Back to Volcanoes