Basalt | Electric City, WA | July 2019

Landscape Week | Life here is built atop basalt. A layer lies just beneath our grocery store’s parking lot. Our dog-walking trail runs between basalt escarpments. Chunks of it accent our home’s landscaping. Roughly 15 million years ago the earth cracked open and released lava flows that hardened into basalt a mile thick. Soil formed over some of it — thus wheat fields on high plateaus — and some of it was gouged and carved millennia ago by glacial floods. Most of it, though, just sits there and, along with the rest of us, awaits the next cataclysm. It’s patient; I’m antsy.

[The basalt cliff in this photo protects an emerald bay in Banks Lake, a reservoir adjacent to Grand Coulee Dam.]