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Agates on Oregon Coast Crazy Good; Erosion Changes Beaches

Published 01/06/2016 at 4:33 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – Agates abound in big ways on the coastline right now, thanks to all those nutty and gnarly winter storms. Those wild waves have made other remarkable changes as well, including shifting streams around, filling beaches with debris, remodeling dunes and more. (Above: photo by Laura Joki, who has been finding some monster agates. These were found in Lincoln City all in one day).

The big news is that agate hunting is amazing on much of the Oregon coast. Those massive waves scoured out a lot of sand all over, leaving lots of gravel beds exposed.

The best documented example – and most stunning – is at the Nelscott area of Lincoln City. Early on in these sets of storms, Laura Joki, owner of agate shop Rock Your World, took startling video of the changes there, which included a whopping eight to ten feet of sand getting stripped away, and one access showing off pure bedrock. Something that's a complete rarity.

That was near the end of the month, but things have changed just a little.

“Maybe six inches has returned,” Joki said. “Enough to barely start covering rocks again.”

One of the more striking sights in Joki's videos is of a giant mound of blackish rock exposed by storms, which contains a big jasper vein, where she said many of the jasper agates are coming from. They're practically pouring out of that blob.

Other places to check for such agate proliferation include Ona Beach (near Waldport), Newport's Moolack and Beverly Beaches, just north of Pacific City (including Tierra Del Mar), Oceanside, Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, the stretch between Arch Cape and Cannon Beach that includes Arcadia and Hug Point, and even the southern part of Seaside (just north of the Cove).

Meanwhile, erosion is making quite a few changes to Oregon coast beaches in other ways. The volunteer group CoastWatch has eyes all over the region and has noticed some wild shifts in the way many areas look.

At around the Nelscott area and D River in Lincoln City, one CoastWatch member reported seeing not as much erosion at D River, an area not far from the crazy bedrock seen by Joki. One bluff closer to Nelscott was so eroded it had even dislodged some pine trees, however.

At Patterson State Park near Waldport, the stream has shifted direction. Instead of curving around it's now a fairly straight path to the tides. Earlier this year it had been quite close to the beach access and almost blocked it, according to CoastWatch.

MacPhillips Beach – that rather hidden access just north of Cape Kiwanda – had been jostled around quite a bit. This is one of the few accesses on the Oregon coast where you can drive on, but storms in December had blocked cars out by depositing huge amounts of debris at the entrance. That same CoastWatch member described the sand dune on the northern face of Cascade Head (by Neskowin) as being “remodeled.”

The Twin Rocks section of Rockaway Beach has a lot of erosion and gravel beds, and one report talked of the ground in front of a rental property getting substantially eaten away.

In Manzanita, you can see the dunes having been chomped on by storms and high tides. This is rather remarkable as the dunes are normally a couple hundred feet from the tideline. Streams in that area, like many all around the Oregon coast, are covered in large piles of logs.

Arch Cape, near Cannon Beach, is now mostly rocky in many stretches and you can see evidence of fresh slides in the cliffs.

At Fort Stevens, some sections that were normally gradual inclines down dunes are a sudden drop, sometimes by as much as five, six feet. It was described as having “caved away.”

Sunset Beach, just north of Seaside, has had its beach approach changed with so many objects strewn around. Where to stay for this activity - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

More agate photos and video from Joki's recent finds below, as well as Arch Cape.

When you ask us where the agates and jasper come from on the beach, this is where. Nelscott Beach, Lincoln City, OR 12-22-15

Posted by Rock Your World: Pacific NW Gem & Jewelry Gallery on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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