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Gallery 40


Playa Lakes - Alvord Desert - Hart Mountain


Click on each picture for a LARGER view

Crump Lake by Adel; egret, ducks
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©0986  Crump Lake - Hart Mountain to Adel
Dust Storm on the Alvord Desert
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©0983  Dust Storm on the Alvord Desert
Warner Basin Freshwater Lakes
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©0981 Freshwater Lakes of the Warner Basin
Goose Lake State Park
Oregon Basin Range
©0978 Goose Lake by Lakeview, Oregon
Quarter Horses for Sale near Burns
Oregon Basin Range
©0990 Quarter Horse Sale near Burns
Basin Range
Basin Range Map

Mickey Hot Springs on the Alvord Desert
Basin Range Pictures
©0982 Alvord Desert
Mickey Hot Springs
Oregon Wild Horse Herd Management Area (Burns)  provided horses for this aspen scene
Basin Range Pictures
©0330a Run Free
Wild Horses
Summer Lake of Oregon's Basin Range
Migratory Birds Refuge
©0977 Summer Lake  Paisley, OR
Pelicans on Klamath Lake
Migratory Birds Refuge
©0630 Pelicans-
Klamath Lake
Aspens abound in the wetter parts of the Basin Range-from Steens Mountain
Oregon's Basin Range
Steens Mountain
©0979 Aspens
Oregon's Basin Range = playa lakes, slightly salty wetlands, Alvord Desert, Hart Mt
©0997 Oregon Basin Range
Hart Lake in Reflection
©0980 Campbell Lake - Hart Mt's Poker Jim Ridge
©0985 Rain on the Alvord Desert (where only 9"/yr falls)
Oregon's Basin Range Horst & Graben
©0988 Steens Mountain  (& Alvord Desert)
©0989 Cattle Drive on Diamond Craters Road
South Eastern Oregon panorama
©0987 Pueblo Mountains - Road to Fields
©0998 Salty Banks of Lake Abert (Playa Lake)
©0991 Sunrise on the
Alvord Desert
©0992 Steaming Hot Springs on the Alvord
©0993 Pahoehoe Lava-Diamond Craters  Field
©0996 Coyote- Hart Mt
Antelope Reserve
©0995 Pete French
Round   Barn
©0994 Antelope Parade
on Hart Mountain

This Gallery is about the area called the "Empty Quarter", the Oregon Basin, part of the *Hydrographic Great Basinof the United States, is among the most sparcely-inhabitated areas of Oregon.  It is not one but several basins with similar characteristics.  There's Harney Basin,  Silver Lake Basin, Warner Basin, Goose Lake Basin,  Catlow-Pueblo-Alvord Basin, and Summer Lake-Abert Lake Basin.
     In all the basins, the land has fractured allowing one area to rise abruptly and the rest to settle into a flat plateau.  These striking variations in landscape are called horst and graben or quick rising mountains and very flat valleys.
     The Oregon Basin also includes remnants of prehistoric lakes which are now shallow, salty lakes which can't grow fish but do grow brine shrimp for migratory fowl. These "playa lakes" are in the flat basins and have no outlet.  Geological Faulting through time  has obstructed their seaward  path. Hot summers dry the precipitation which falls as snow...then in spring it melts temporarily filling the playa lakes. The result? Salt!   Abert Lake has the distinction of being the third largest salt lake in North America!
      Slightly salty lakes, such as Crump Lake  and Campbell Lake of the Warner Basin , Goose Lake,  or Summer Lake are excellent stop overs for migratory birds
     The Steens Mountain, rich with Aspen Trees, is a raised fault-block mountain of 9773ft and is a "horst".  The Alvord Basin, the flat adjacent area is a "graben". The Alvord Desert rests 4000' above sea level and is in the rainshadow of the nearby Steens Mountain so it's  a barren desert floor of dried caked mud.(white rhyolyte) The Alvord gets about 9" rain/year, to be there during a rainstorm is a unique treat.
     The Alvord is alkaline and supports little vegetation except  sagebrush which is fairly good  as cattle, antelope, and deer food. The Pueblo Mountains near Fields (spring board to the dusty Alvord Desert) is made up of two fault block ranges. Hot springs of bubbling, steaming Water also punctuate  the desert. These springs start several thousand feet below the surface and begin their trip upward at 220 degrees!
      The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge (established in 1936) is located on another horst (ie fault block ridge).  Hart Mountain is in south-central Oregon and is visited by antelope herds and the coyote that enjoys their taste.  Predation is so severe by coyotes that fawn survival has fallen drastically.  When cattle were allowed to graze the refuge, the coyote problem was less severe as the antelope  would birth their fawns amid the cattle herd for protection.  In 1991 cattle were no longer allowed on the refuge...gone is the shield!
        Ever since Pete French built his round barn (to break horses for herding) there have been large cattle ranches in the area and self sufficient cattle folk to tend them.   Cattle andcraters populate the area. Diamond Craters is a 60 sq mile basaltic lava flow between Burns and Steens Mountain.  East of Diamond wild horses !   Seeing an Alvord Sunrise is why this area is part of the GREAT basin!

The Hydrographic Great Basin includes 1. Great Salt Lake & Escalante Desert in Utah
     2. Death Valley & Mono Lake in California 3. Humboldt Sink & the Black Desert of Nevada 

from "Finding Oregon's Best" Gallery 40 ...   

Paul and Marilyn Peck
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Last Updated 7-11-2023