Near Mitchell in Wheeler County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Pieces of the Puzzle
Ash and pumice from the ancestral Cascades and local volcanoes buried this area layer by layer. The colorful layers before you were deposited 33 million years ago. Soil formation processes affected each layer differently. Clays were formed and deeply buried, turning to stone. Underground forces lifted and faulted the strata, interrupting the symmetry.
The red in the Painted Hills is from rusty iron minerals, oxidized by long exposure. The golden layers reveal a mix of oxidized magnesium and iron, metamorphic claystone minerals. Black hash marks are rich with manganese. Each of the colors represents a different geologic process.
This valley is a gently contoured theater of geologic change, with erosion from rain the latest sculptor.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 44° 38.991′ N, 120° 16′ W. Marker is near Mitchell, Oregon, in Wheeler County. Marker can be reached from Bear Creek Road 1.2 miles west of Bridge Creek - Burnt Ranch Road Touch for map. Marker is located in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument at the end of the road to the Painted Hills Overlook parking lot and trailhead; the above directions are to the intersection of Bear Creek Road and the Painted Hills Overlook road. Marker is in this post office area: Mitchell OR 97750, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Deciphering the Forest (here, next to this marker); Painted Hills Overlook (here, next to this marker); A Matter of Survival (here, next to this marker); Fossils on the Frontier (approx. 0.8 miles away); Look Below the Surface (approx. 0.8 miles away).
Also see . . . Painted Hills. From the Mitchell, Oregon website. (Submitted on February 12, 2014.)
Categories. • Natural Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 12, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 346 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 12, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.