the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Idaho

3.2 miles (5.2 km) NE of Jordan Valley (OR), Owyhee, ID, USA
Approx. altitude: 1572 m (5157 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 43°S 63°E

Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: looking Northeast from confluence #3: Looking East to North #4: From here you can see our entire journey.  Looking Southwest #5: My Dad and I

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  43°N 117°W (visit #1)  

#1: How we knew we were in the right place

(visited by Jeremy T Splinter and Raymond O. Splinter)

24-Nov-2000 -- The confluence is about a mile and a half from the Oregon border, in the Owyhee Mountains. This section of Idaho is where Columbia Plateau and the Snake River Plain meet. Here we find the same granite formations found in the central Idaho Batholith, evidently the last remaining fragments on this side of the Snake River.

We approached the confluence point from Jordan Valley. The valleys are almost completely flat due to the basalt lava flows that once flooded this area leaving just the mountain peaks standing free. When we crossed the border back into Idaho we found the 4-wheel drive road that took us toward the confluence, and drove about 1 ½ miles (of the over 500 miles of dirt roads in the Owyhee Front) until we got out to hike the remaining 1 ¾ miles.

At this point, we started climbing into what were probably once the foothills of DeLamar Mountain. The mountains are being literally torn apart by a number of basin and range faults that have been slicing the mountains into blocks and pulling them apart.

We found the confluence close to the peak of the hills. The GPS gave us a perfect lock and led us directly to it. You can easily see where the hills have been sliced down the center leaving a couple of steep valleys in between these hills and the bigger portion of the mountains. It appears that the water from the confluence flows south and the neighboring valley opens out toward the north, though they both flow into the Owhyhee River.

We ate our lunch in the bowl near the confluence. Here you can see fragments of basalt flows on the ridges. The soil ground consists of a lot of rhyolte ash that had exploded from nearby volcanoes in gigantic volumes.

This area is the driest region in Idaho, being part of the high sagebrush desert that covers Parts of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Utah. The road was very wet today however. During the day the snow started to melt making the road very muddy. Getting back down the road in our two-wheel drive pickup ended up being the difficult part of our journey.

We saw jackrabbits, a deer herd and a variety of footprints of other animals in the snow. The area is also very rich in minerals, of one the best rock hounding areas in the country. There is an abundance of jasper, opal, picture rock, petrified wood, quartz, and thundereggs. Up at Silver City, not too far from here, they mined gold, and a lot of silver from 1863 until just recently. The mine is no longer in operation. This area is fascinating to explore. Most people think of deserts as flat and dull. The high desert mountains here in Oregon and Idaho are very exiting.

---(Geological information from Roadside Geology of Idaho by David D. Alt and Donald W. Hyndman)

 All pictures
#1: How we knew we were in the right place
#2: looking Northeast from confluence
#3: Looking East to North
#4: From here you can see our entire journey. Looking Southwest
#5: My Dad and I
#6: Looking up the basin from the bottom
ALL: All pictures on one page