Painted Hills VIII – Island in Time

In early October I spent five days in the John Day country. On the third day of the trip I journeyed to the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

After a visit to the Historic James Cant Ranch on the John Day River, I went to the Blue Basin area.

The Island in Time Trail gently climbed along a canyon floor into a bluish-green amphitheater.

Truly amazing.

An inquisitive Chipmunk

Blue Basin cliffs

Rabbit Brush in bloom


Gentle trail leading to Blue Basin

Spiral coloration (How did that happen?)

Capstone (Keeps the softer blueish-green clay below from eroding away)

Categories: Central Oregon OutingsTags: , , ,


  1. I love this area. The John Day region provides truly spectacular and unique geology and ecology. The spiral coloration you were seeing is formed by precipitates. The spiral pattern is formally called Liesegang rings. Although the processes here are not entirely understood some suggest that the resulting pattern is the difference in conduction of different minerals that result in the alternation patters. The major minerals at play likely are oxygen and ferrous oxygen resulting in the banding patterns you are seeing.

  2. I love this series. Will there be a 9 and 10 or VIIII and X?

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