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Wild Geologic Tour at N. Oregon Coast Presentation Covers Spectacular Events, Disasters

Published 03/18/2018 at 5:35 PM PDT - Updated 03/18/2018 at 6:05 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Wild Geologic Tour at N. Oregon Coast Presentation Covers Spectacular Events

(Seaside, Oregon) – What is it exactly that we’re seeing as we drive through the north Oregon coast town of Seaside and surrounding Clatsop Plains? There’s a lot going on – or that has gone on – in this area, basically hiding in plain sight. The environs of this coastal hotspot is alive with a variety of forces and movements. (Above: the landscape at Seaside has changed enormously over the last 100 years).

It’s a topography and geology that has formed over the past 4500 years. At the next History & Hops – happening on March 29 - native son and famed geologist Tom Horning (pictured below) will take attendees on “A Geologic Tour of Clatsop Plains” sharing how this area was formed by slow, chronic processes punctuated by infrequent catastrophes.

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Look around you and you’ll see that trees have gone, some areas have flooded, and various features of the land change over time. Look a bit deeper and you’ll find great storms and Magnitude 9 subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis caused erosion and changes in vegetation patterns of forests and plains, rearranging landforms, and disrupting Native American communities.

Horning’s presentation happens at 6 p.m. on that Thursday night, at Seaside Brewing Co. There, he will cover events such as Columbia River sands forming a storm-smashed delta, to landslides falling from Tillamook Head – and how the rocks were transported around the Head to Seaside by storm waves. He’ll delve into the regular depositing of silts, gravel, and peat by creeks and rivers flowing off the hills. He will explain how spectacular tsunami landforms sculpted Seaside and influenced how the town was developed, as well as why the Lewis & Clark Salt Works was sited near Avenue N.

In the early ‘80s, one of Seaside’s more spectacular and recent drastic changes took place. A massive landslide on one section of Tillamook Head dropped tons and tons of large rocks and boulders into the ocean, which then piled up at the Cove in Seaside. At first they created a large mound and an extension of the beach, with a gargantuan pool of sea water in between that became rather smelly for a time. Eventually, that land was all smoothed out the entire beach by Avenue U was extended by 100 yards or so.

This is some of what Horning will look at, as well as likely talking about his own experiences with the tsunami in Seaside in the early ‘60s.

Horning attended Seaside High School, and proudly shares that he set a record in discus throwing there, a stat which stood for 32 years. He has a master’s degree in geology (with a minor in volcanology) from Oregon State University. After a career as an exploration geologist, he returned to Seaside in 1994 and became a natural hazards and geotechnical consultant doing business as Horning Geosciences. His volunteer work has included the North Coast Land Conservancy, Seaside Tsunami Advisory Group, Seaside Planning Commission, Seaside Parks Advisory Committee, Seaside Native American Project and he is currently a member of the Seaside City Council. He also speaks to groups and the media regarding tsunami preparedness.

History & Hops is a series of local history discussions hosted by the Seaside Museum on the last Thursday of each month, September through May, at Seaside Brewing Co., 861 Broadway. -- Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

Preserving Seaside’s History since 1974, the Seaside Museum and Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution with the mission to collect, preserve and interpret materials illustrative of the history of Seaside and the surrounding area. The museum is located at 570 Necanicum Drive, Seaside and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at www.seasideoregonuseum.com.

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Above: Seaside 100 years ago had a totally different landscape.






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