Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Montana & Wyoming (2017)

Elko, NV

The first stop for this expedition.


Steens Mountain, OR

Steens Mountain is in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon, and is a large fault-block mountain, Located in Harney County, it stretches some 50 miles (80 km) north to south, and rises from alongside the Alvord Desert at elevation of about 4,200 feet (1,300 m) to a summit elevation of 9,733 feet (2,967 m). It is sometimes confused with a mountain range but is properly a single mountain. The east face of Steens Mountain is composed mainly of basalts stacked one upon another. Lava flows several hundreds of feet thick inundated the region between 17 and 14 million years ago.


Craters of the Moon, ID

Craters of the Moon, located along the Great Rift of Idaho represent one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States. The Monument and Preserve encompasses three major lava fields (Craters of the Moon covering 618 square miles (1600 square km.).The smaller Wapi and Kings Bowl lava fields formed during the most recent eruptive period (approximately 2000 years ago) and contains some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet (240 m). There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava, as well as tree molds, lava tubes, and many other volcanic features.


EBR 1, ID

The Experimental Breeder Reactor I is a decommissioned research reactor about 18 miles (29 km) southeast of Arco, Idaho. At 1:50 p.m. on December 20, 1951, it became one of the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plants when it produced sufficient electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs. EBR-1 subsequently generated sufficient electricity to power its building, and continued to be used for experimental purposes until it was decommissioned in 1964.


Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park is a protected area showcasing significant geological phenomena and processes. It is also a unique manifestation of geothermal forces, natural beauty, and wild ecosystems where rare and endangered species thrive. As the site of one of the few remaining intact large ecosystems in the northern temperate zone of earth, Yellowstone’s ecological communities provide unparalleled opportunities for conservation, study, and enjoyment of large-scale wildland ecosystem processes.


Beartooth Mountains, WY & MT

The Beartooth mountains are composed of Precambrian granite and crystalline metamorphic rocks dated at approximately 4 to 2.7 billion years old, making these rocks among the oldest on Earth. The Stillwater igneous complex within the mountains is the location of the largest known deposits of platinum and chromium and the second largest deposits of nickel found in the United States. Older ages (4-3.2 billion years) are found in zircon crystals in meta-sedimentary rocks. The most abundant rocks in the Beartooths (gneiss, amphibolites and granites, as well as the Stillwater Complex) are 2.9-2.7 billion years old.


Stillwater Mine, MT

Stillwater Mine near Nye, MT is located in a geological formation known for its palladium, platinum and associated metals (PGMs) in the Stillwater igneous complex in south central Montana known as the J-M Reef. The J-M Reef is the only known significant source of platinum group metals inside the United States and one of the significant resources outside formation in the Stillwater igneous complex in south central Montana known as the J-M Reef. The J-M Reef is the only known significant source of platinum group metals inside the United States and one of the significant resources outside South Africa and Russia.


Leucite Hills

The Leucite Hills north of Rock Springs consist of a group of lamproite flows, dikes, volcaniclastics, scoria, and volcanic necks that contain some of the more unusual minerals found on earth. Lamproites are ultrapotassic volcanic rocks, forming cinder cones, lava flows and volcanic necks. The outcrops consist of hills (the Leucite Hills) due to differential erosion. Due to the extremely high potassium content of the lamproites, some have been mined for fertilizer (e.g., Zirkel Mesa), and most are still considered mining prospects for potassium. Lamproites can contain rare minerals enriched in K, Ti (potassic-fluoro-richterite, priderite, noonkanbahite…).


Click on the thumbnails below to see more expedition pictures

Click on the thumbnails below to see more expedition pictures