Check out article in Reporter - Thursday April 15, 2010
Make your way around our website (it isn't very big!) and enjoy some old stories, facts about the beach and natural world, and our wonderful shared park. Become a member of the CIA and help build this wonderful community resource.  There is so much to do: build a park, build community, protect the ocean's resources, and enjoy the beauty of the seashore and its environs!

Celebrate the change of seasons, year round, 

at Beach Bluff Park. 

Four times a Year - Events at the Sun Circle - 

A crowd came to the park to observe the sunrise of the winter solstice on December 21 at 7:12 am 

And all who entered the Sun Circle

were inspired by

the love, art, science and the mystery of the universe.

Above photo shows the view of sunrise as it would appear on the winter solstice.
Below photo shows the way it would appear on the spring and fall equinoxes.

            Photo taken by Bruce Greenwald at sun rise on snowy Sunday December 6, 2009

The rays of the rising sun on December 6, 2009 glow on the columnar basalt of our Sun Circle

see front page article in Salem News of December 19,2009 on Solstice event

Sun Circle Sculpture

The Sun Circle Sculpture has been designed as a sculpture attuned to the solar cycles that guide our planet and our lives. Based on solar geometries, the installation will consist of a ring or “henge” of seven-foot columnar basalt columns from the Columbia River Basin in Moses Lake, Washington.

At two points along the circle, there are pairs of stone pillars, set four to five inches apart that demarcate the sunrise and sunset locations on the spring and fall equinox dates. At the key moments on these two days, the sun’s rays will pass between the gap in the stones, creating a spectacular sunburst.  At four points along the circle, single stone pillars denote the locations of the sunrise and sunset on the solstice dates, acting as parens for the extreme points of the sun rise on the horizon. Single stone pillars  mark the north and south axis of the circle to complete the design and provide directional bearings. Although the effect is especially dramatic during equinox and solstice events, the locations of the stones will help viewers to understand solar positions throughout the year. 

The rough stone monoliths maintain their natural finish in harmony with the simplicity and serenity of the seaside site.  Basalt has been selected as the material for the sculpture since it forms naturally in monolithic shapes and is one of the predominant types of stone that form the geology at this site.  Eight of the stones include a simple contoured cut that will express an aspect of “capturing” the sun along its journey.  The stone pairs at the equinox locations also signify an abstraction of a conversation between two persons as they view the solar path. At the center of the installation is a circular stone dais: the geometric center that provides the key vantage point to experience all of these solar events from a single location.  This platform is etched with inscriptions that help the viewer to understand the annual cycle. 

Most people do not realize that the sun appears in a different location each day of the year.  This sculpture will help people to understand this concept in a clear and meaningful way. With the creation of this astronomical construct, the sculptor aims to provide a thought-provoking tool to broaden the viewer’s experience to include the sky and the solar system beyond.

Celebrating the sun's path has a long tradition in many cultures. Too often the deep essentials of our life on this planet are ignored. Although this sculpture will be a permanent installation, it speaks more about the passage of time, the changing seasons, the cycles of life, and how we experience them in relationship to our surroundings. It will be a marker and reference point to understand that we are constantly moving even when standing still.

Columnar Basalt shipped from west coast 

The Sun Circle Sculpture is made of columnar basalt, a spectacular geometic formation, from Moses Lake in the Columbia River Basin in Washington.

The shape, structure and texture of basalt depend on how and where it erupted — whether into the sea, in an explosive eruption or as creeping lava flows, the classical image of Hawaiian basalt eruptions.
In columnar basalt, during the cooling of a thick lava flow, fractures form: much like the process of muddy water to wet mud, and then to dry and fractured cracked mud. The lava shrinks as it cools, and pressure cracks the young rock into shapes that offer the greatest stress relief with the fewest cracks.  Because there is not perfectly even cooling, there are three- to eight-sided columns, though six-sided columns are the most common. The size of the columns depends loosely on the rate of cooling; very rapid cooling may result in very small columns, while slow cooling is more likely to produce large columns.
This is the site on west coast where the basalt occurs naturally. This phenomenon can also be seen in the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and the Devil’s Postpile in the eastern Sierra in California. An ancient 13th century religious complex, called Nan Madol, was built on the Pacific island of Pohnpei, using columnar basalt quarried from various locations on the island. Other columnar formations include:  Borgarvirki Fortress, Iceland; Cape Stolbchatiy, Kuril Islands, Russia; Devil's Tower, Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming; Organ Pipes National Park, Victoria, Australia; Narooma Basalt, Narooma, New South Wales, Australia; Samson's Ribs, Scotland and Staffa, Scotland.

These two columns will be cut to allow the sun to shine through at the equinoxes. At the key moments on these two days, the sun’s rays will pass between the gap in the stones, creating a spectacular sunburst. 

This has become part of the watering spa for dogs thanks to the family of Emily Zofnass.