Geohydrology of Siver Creek Field Trip, Harney Basin

  • 24 Jun 2023
  • 9:30 AM
  • 25 Jun 2023
  • 3:30 PM
  • Hines, OR
  • 14


Hank Johnson (L) and Dr. Steve Gingerich (R) at Barnyard Spring, western Harney Basin.                    Photo by  Derek Loeb

Hydrogeology of Silver Creek Field Trip, Western Harney Basin

Led by Hank Johnson & Dr. Steve Gingerich

Saturday & Sunday June 24-25, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Indefinitely Postponed

Please join hydrogeologists Hank Johnson and Dr. Steve Gingerich for a two day field trip exploring the hydrogeology of Silver Creek in western Harney County.  The first day we will make a series of stops to understand the recharge area of the aquifer system and the second day will focus on the discharge area.

Silver Creek is a medium-sized intermittent creek in western Harney County with a big story to tell. One involving 170 million year old island arcs, cataclysmic caldera eruptions, continental-scale tectonic processes, and 8,000 year old groundwater. Its story is also a microcosm of the water management challenges writ large across the western US.

This trip will follow Silver Creek from its headwaters in the Ponderosa forests of the Blue Mountains to its final destination in the wetlands and playas of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge west of Harney Lake. Springs bookend the field trip, beginning with small-volume springs that feed upper Silver Creek and ending with large-volume thermal springs in Warm Springs Valley. The creek follows the Brothers Fault Zone for much of course as it flows across three major physiographic provinces: the Blue Mountains, the High Lava Plains, and the Basin and Range. We will explore how the complex geologic history of western Harney County has influenced the distribution of groundwater and surface water in the basin. And, how that distribution has influenced water resource management and development over the last 150 years.

Participants will meet at Fastbreak Convenience Store/Eddies Truck & Auto Center (Sinclair) on the north side of U.S. Highway 20 on the western edge of Hines, OR at 9:30 AM.  The meetup location for the second day will be at the ODOT Sage Hen rest area on the south side of U.S. Highway 20 about 14 miles west of Hines.  Participants will be responsible for their own lodging arrangements.  The Hines/Burns area has numerous options including the historic Central Hotel or a Best Western.  There are also several camping options in town including the Burns RV Park as well as numerous other options in the surrounding area including public land.  It is also possible to commute to the area for the day.  This is an integrated two day trip, but those who can only attend for a day will be accommodated on a space available basis.  The logistics of caravaning and parking will be easier with a limited number of vehicles so opportunities to ride share for the day's itinerary will be available.  As a reminder, ride sharing is completely voluntary and COGS does not directly organize this.

Contact the field trip coordinator, Derek Loeb ( ), with questions.

Please note that this event is limited to 15 participants and registration must be done via the registration button on the trip listing on the COGS website.  Successful registration will be confirmed on the webpage by a light green box indicating registration was successful and by a confirmation email.  If you don't get this email you should try the registration process again.  If the trip is full, please join the wait list.

Central Oregon Geoscience Society

P.O. Box 2154,  Bend, Oregon 97709

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