Wildcat Mountain Caldera Field Trip
Twin Pillar (left), Stein's Pillar (center) and view from Stein's Pillar to Twin Pillars (right) in Ochoco National Forest (Photos by Carrie Gordon)
Join us on an exploration around the edges of Mill Creek Wilderness in the Ochoco Mountains and see what’s hiding! In 2005, Jason McClaughry and Mark Ferns, with the Oregon Department of Geology and Minerals Industry, discovered the 40 Million year old Wildcat Mountain Caldera. Carrie Gordon and Derek Loeb will lead a field trip to look at the features of this volcano. It stretches from Twin Pillars to Steins Pillar. The field trip will begin in Prineville, travel northeast up Little McKay Creek across to the top of Mill Creek, down the drainage to Wildcat Campground. After lunch, we will explore a portion of the Steins Pillar trail with a final stop at Brennan Palisades. In a total of six stops, we will look at the pre-caldera rocks, caldera margins and the caldera tuff deposits as well as how the caldera affects current topography and ongoing geologic processes.
Pre-field trip information: “Field Trip Guide to the middle Eocene Wildcat Mountain Caldera, Ochoco National Forest, Crook County, Oregon”.
https://www.oregongeology.org/pubs/og/OGv69n01.pdf (Pg. 5-24)
This trip will visit a subset of the described stops and will do so in modified order.
Total hiking distance will be about 1 mile on trails with a modest elevation gain/loss. This trip will be suitable for all geologic backgrounds and is limited to 20 participants. The trip will start in Prineville but there will be a meet up location in Bend to informally arrange ride sharing for the trip.
Carrie Gordon is the retired U. S. Forest Service Geologist for the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland. She is also an Oregon Master Naturalist, Certified Interpretive Guide (NAI) and a Registered Oregon Geologist. Carrie has a B.A. in Geology from Central Washington State College (now CWU) and has lived in Prineville since 1992.
Central Oregon Geoscience Society
P.O. Box 2154, Bend, Oregon 97709