Breath-taking Natural Wonders: Painted Hills of Oregon

Last updated on May 19, 2015

Posted on May 19, 2015

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My wife and I have a dream of traveling around the world.  I am starting a new series on some of the most mind-blowingly beautiful natural wonders.  Places that will take one’s breath away!  This series is one where I will explore places where I would love to go with her.  The most important criteria for these places is that they should be formed naturally and visually mind-blowing.  One such place is the Painted Hills of Oregon.

Painted Hills Map
Painted Hills Map

They are located in the Wheeler County, Oregon and are part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  The colors on the hills come from the layers that correspond to various geological eras that this area has seen.  These layers were formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain.  The black soil is lignite, grey color comes from the mudstone, siltstone, and shale; and red color from the laterite soil that comprises the floodplain deposits when the area was warm and humid.

The hills and their colors are living records of a history of over 50 million years with the changing vegetation, climate and ecosystems.  There was a time in history when elephants, camels, rhinoceroses and sabertooth tigers used to roam freely in Eastern Oregon.  We can still find their fossils in this area.  There is a Thomas Condon Paleontology Center Museum, located in the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds which houses 40,000 fossils from ancient past. Here is an amazing video of the area.

Let us check out some breath-taking pictures from the area.

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