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By Erik Hanson

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Extra resources for Canyons (The Extreme Earth)

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For example, river-derived sediments might be transported to the ocean at point A. The sediments may first be transported five miles to the west, reaching point B and largely bypassing the continental shelf. The sediments may then be transported 50 miles north, by an ocean current, to the head of a submarine canyon at point C. The incision of the canyon may be heavily driven by river-derived sediments from point A. The delivery of sediments to a submarine canyon can occur in the context of several phenomena, including a hyperpycnal flow or a turbid underflow.

Researchers have noted the potential for confusion in this context, given that the term Columbia Basin is generally applied very loosely. At the western, most downstream, end of the gorge, the Columbia Backarc Basin ends and blends into the Portland Basin. The Portland Basin is a small basin that was produced by tectonic activity, largely consisting of extensional fault activity. The part of the Cascadia Backarc Zone that surrounds the Columbia River Gorge and overlaps with the Columbia Plateau will, for the sake of simplicity, be regarded as the Columbia Backarc Basin.

This cooling causes the ✧ 30 The Columbia River Gorge ✧ 31 This picture shows the Columbia River and the sloping walls, covered by trees, of Columbia River Gorge. ) air to dump its moisture as rain or snow in the vicinity of the mountains. For example, Portland is just east of the Cascades and receives fairly abundant precipitation. Portland is therefore part of the rainshadow of the Cascades. As the dried-out air moves down from the Cascades to the Columbia Plateau, the air warms and is able to further evaporate water from the Columbia Plateau.

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