Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Oregon Coast Beach Near Florence Sends You Back in Time, Drops Heavy Science

Updated 04/09/23 at 5:32 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Central Oregon Coast Spot Near Florence Sends You Back in Time

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Florence, Oregon) – If you're coming from the south, you've just driven through veritable mountains of sand dunes. 40 miles of them cover the stretch from Coos Bay to Florence, and then once you emerge from that town the Oregon coast changes drastically. Big, dark hills of even darker rock begin to push your drive higher in altitude, and your place above sea level undulates with quickly-shifting scenery. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

All this stuff tells a striking, wild tale, of immense flows of lava so thick and massive that what you're looking at may go miles deep beneath you.

One spot in all this speaks weird volumes, and it speaks for much of the area. Geology is one freaky ride back in time, and this place is like a rapid-fire tour of the kind of volcanic action that occurred back then – and more.

Just south of the county lines between Lane and Lincoln counties, a ways between Florence and Yachats, sits a beach spot with no name. Or at least it seems. The parking lot gives way to a path down to this beach with two personalities: one is a sandy crescent surrounded by stone; the other a labyrinth of basalt structures. You might even spot ancient shell middens here.

Basalt is essentially ancient, cooled lava.

This is in actuality the northern half of Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. It isn't well marked from the highway, but once you get in the parking the name becomes apparent. The southern access is well marked and lies a bit down the road.


Where the sandy and rocky parts meet, a small basalt arch stretches over and into the sand. This is curious because...well...what in the heck happened here? Somewhere way back in time, this was a whole rock structure, maybe hundreds of feet larger than it is now. Tides obviously ate away at it over eons, and somewhere along the line a giant hole opened up in it. Then, perhaps even more curious, sand levels rose – or this place sunk – and it was covered up by sand.

Black, giant, jagged rocky slabs contain numerous fissures or cracks, where the tide can do especially spectacular things (you don't want to be around them at these times, however). Huge logs lie all about, testifying to the dangerous power of the waters here.

One of the more puzzling rock structures you find along the Oregon coast are really almost only found in this region of Lane County – a ways north of Florence. Oddball step-like rock structures pop up here, at Strawberry Hill, and a couple of other spots. They look like Mother Nature's interior designer was drunk and placed some half-built stairways here.

These are called cordwood joints by geologists, and these are really unique features in basalt. It's rather complex, but according to Seaside geologist Tom Horning, it started when some really old lava feature developed cracks. Then, numerous other lava flows came along and surrounded this section millions and millions of years ago, he said, actually inserting more lava into the cracks and eventually even enlarging them. Cracks broke open, bits fell off, and then over eons these were worn into their current shapes. Mysterious Rocky Steps Along Oregon Coast Explained by Geology


What's different about northern Lane County and this whole stretch between about the Sea Lion Caves and Yachats is that all these lava fields come from Cape Perpetua – making them quite unique on the whole of the Oregon coast. Inside Heceta Head / Cliffs Near Florence: All Come from Oregon Coast Volcano


Atop Cape Perpetua, once a volcano

That structure is over 30 million years old, making all this area much older than the basalts of the northern coast, from Seal Rock through Cannon Beach and into the Columbia River Gorge.

Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Virtual Tour

 


MORE PHOTOS BELOW






Booking.com

 

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Coastal Spotlight


Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Oregon Coast Fin Whale Update: Sick, Weathered Orca Attack, Fishing Gear
A rare find, attacked by orcas, fishing gear, and very sick. Marine sciences

UPDATED: A Rare Stranding on Oregon Coast, Fin Whale Washes Up Near Seaside
About 40 feet, it washed up at Gearhart

April 2024 Partial Solar Eclipse Coming to Oregon Coast, Washington Coast
On April 8, between 11:20 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in and around 23 percent. Sciences

Valentine's Day Romance Packages Abound on Oregon Coast: from Food to Stays
Enticing freebies, discounts, swag, food to stunning scenery. Specials, hotel specials

Are the Kooky Little Pyrosomes Coming Back to Oregon Coast? New Sightings
There's still a sizable amount of scientific mystery behind them. Marine sciences

Seaside Celebrates 125 Years of Being N. Oregon Coast Hotspot
On February 17 the town turns 125, celebrationg at the museum. Seaside events

Increased Sneaker Wave Threat Along Oregon Coast, Washington Coast Today Thro...
A strong westerly swell will facilitate a high threat of sneaker waves

Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast Decommisioned in Ceremony at N. Oregon Coast's A...
One of the last remaining Reliance-class medium endurance cutters


Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted