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Field Trip to Mars

Pinto Ridge to Coulee City

Page 5 - Field Trip to Mars: Pinto Ridge to Coulee City

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Pinto Ridge, Lower Grand Coulee and Banks Lake

[107.1 Pinto Ridge Road]
We reach the crest of Pinto Ridge where we get a good view of the scablands of the Hartline Basin to the north, part of Billy Clapp Lake and Summer Falls State Park. For a side trip you could go into the park below the ridge for lunch.

Pinto Ridge crest, click for panorama view
Pinto Ridge crest. Click image for a panorama view.

[112.0 Pinto Ridge Road]
The boulders in the field to the right are from the coulee on the left side of the road. Following this coulee upstream we will reach Lower Grand Coulee and Banks Lake.

Coulee on left of road
Coulee on left side of road, south of Coulee City.

Click for larger map of area
(Washington State Parks map)
Click image for a larger map of this leg of our trip up Banks Lake.

[116.4 Pinto Ridge Road]
We enter Coulee City, go .3 mile and turn left at the Stop sign. Follow the street to the next Stop sign and turn left again. When we reach Highway US 2 we stop and turn right onto Dry Falls Dam. The dam holds back the water of Banks Lake which fills the Lower Grand Coulee. The water is used for irrigation in the basin. We will follow the lake on State Highway 155.

Stop for lunch!You may want to stop at the Coulee City Community Park if you haven't had lunch and then (during the summer) go for a swim in the cool lake.

Banks Lake fills most of the Lower Grand Coulee
Banks Lake fills most of the Lower Grand Coulee.
We will see the nearly vertical walls of the Lower Grand Coulee
on our way up to Grand Coulee Dam.

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Geology Terms

Here are some basic terms used in the tour. Find more geology terms in the Glossary.

Volcanic rock caused by partial melting of the Earth's crust.
Channeled Scabland
Area in Washington state where huge floods made channels in a large, deep basalt flow. Named by J Harlan Bretz during the 1920's in various publications. See also Channeled Scabland and Glacial Lake Missoula.
Long winding channel cut through lava formations. A term primarily used in the northwestern United States.

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© 2011 Kid's Cosmos
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