The story begins with an enormous collision about 200 million years ago. At the time, dinosaurs roamed the earth, and most of what we call Oregon was covered by warm seas. But that was to change as massive pieces of the earth’s crust — carrying the Pacific Ocean and the North American continent — crashed together, pushing the seafloor into the earth’s core.
Sediment from the submerging crust piled up along the coast, and inland, molten rock rose from the depths, forming volcanos that spewed lava across the surface. The ocean receded, and ever so slowly Oregon and the Deschutes River country began to take shape. After 130 million years, most of Oregon was still covered by water. Only about 70 million years ago, as the dinosaurs mysteriously disappeared and mammals began to dominate the planet’s land and water, did Oregon begin to emerge.
Since then, the area that is now the Deschutes River country has gone through numerous transformations, brought on by a long parade of geologic events and climatic changes. It was covered for many millions of years by an inland sea, racked by volcanic eruptions and gouged by massive glaciers.