Agates Exposed on Oregon Coast

Fire Agate
Credit: Wikipedia Wiki Commons
If you were along the Oregon Coast over the past couple weeks, you would find an agate collector’s dream.

According to the The News Guard: Regional News, recent storms in a series this winter have exposed rock beds along the coastline as the sand is washed away by the high waves and current. This makes agate hunting there hot right now.

Laura Joki, Lincoln City rockhound and owner of the Rock Your World Rock Shop, 3203 SE Highway 101, broke down what makes an agate an agate.

“Silica is the second most common element, and that’s what agates are made of,” Joki said. “An agate is crypto-crystalline quartz or quartz in which the crystals are too small to see with the naked eye, even with a microscope hand lens. They are interconnected. Almost woven together.”

Agates are formed in ocean seams called amydales—bubbles formed during volcanic lava flow. The available silicas form into agate and jasper from surrounding volcanic materials, Joki said.

She added that from the 1930s to the 1950s, a particular form of agate, known as a sagenite agate, was considered valuable.

The article also noted that there are fossils, chert, jasper, petrified wood, and zeolites to be found along the exposed shoreline.

Several of our members stay and travel to the coast often, so if you find some oceanside treasure, bring it to our meetings and events for identification and sharing.

Giant Rock Falls in Umpqua, Oregon

Living in the Pacific Northwest, falling rocks are a part of life and the myths of the infamous Native American throwing rocks at the strange and noisy creatures moving at high speeds through the mountains. We’ve had our share of devastation as people continue to build on steep mountainsides and fragile geological areas and suffer the consequences of slides.

With all of that familiarity, news out of Umpqua that a massive rock fell onto Tyee Road near milepost 6 in Douglas County would not have created much excitement save for the size of the rock that landed on the road.

Rock Falls on Tyee Road - Umpqua - Mike Henneke - The News Review 2016
Citation: Mike Henneke – The News Review 2016

No one was hurt, and a contractor was able to break the rock up for removal in just over 24 hours, and road crews moved in to temporarily shore up the mountainous road.

Umpqua is part of the Southern Oregon Coast Range, part of the Roseberg volcanics. Much of the geology along that area is a mix of igneous rock, pillow basalt, and sandstone, mudstone, and other sedimentary rock.

Oregon Field Guide produced a 10 minute piece on the North Umpqua Geology, offering more insights into this beautiful area of our state.