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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Erosion of a Sea Stack Over 100 Years

Nye Beach, Newport, Oregon

The following photographs show the demise of Jump-Off Joe, a one-hundred-foot-high sandstone formation known as a “sea stack”. In 1890, the sea stack was composed of middle Miocene concretionary sandstone of the Astoria Formation. Yaquina Head on the Horizon is composed of middle Miocene basalt flows and breccia. Note remnant of Pleistocene terrace deposit along the wave cut bench on the stack. Jump-Off Joe was a well-known tourist attraction, but it weathered rapidly. Its arch collapsed in 1916, a few years after the last black-and-white photo, shown below, was taken. There is nothing left of Jump-Off Joe today.

Black-and-white photographs courtesy of Pacific Studios, Newport, Oregon.
Dates are approximate.
Color photographs taken by Parke D. Snavely, Jr. of the USGS.

1890s

Photo of seastack from 1890


1910s

Photo of seastack from approximately 1910


1910s, likely some time just before the arch’s collapse in January 1916.

Photo of seastack from the 1910s, prior to its collapse in 1916.
Strongly jointed rock is water-laid clastic tuff.


1910s, likely just before the arch’s collapse in January 1916.

Photo of seastack from the 1910s, prior to its collapse in 1916.
Photograph by Albert L. Thomas, Newport, OR. [Larger version]
Soon after opening a curio shop in Newport in 1895, Thomas got his start in photography when he purchased a camera and darkroom from a neighboring studio that was going out of business. For over forty years he produced some of the best views of the central Oregon coast. —Retrieved from Old Oregon website, on June 16, 2015.


1970

Photo of seastack from 1970
Parke D. Snavely, Jr., USGS


1990

Photo of seastack from 1990
Parke D. Snavely, Jr., USGS


For more information, see
“Beach Processes and Sedimentation, 2nd Edition” by Paul D. Komar, Oregon State University, published by Prentice Hall, 1998.

 

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