The Idaho - Oregon Research Project (IDOR)

IDOR is combining data from multiple sources, including research on gravity, seismology, structural geology, and geochronology, to study a boundary that occurred on the edge of North America between Idaho and Oregon. The researchers are trying to figure out the story of the Earth in Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho and understand how it has evolved through geologic time. Principal Investigator Basil Tikoff explains, "We know that about 500 million years ago, Western Idaho was beachfront property. Oregon and Washington did not exist in their present form where they are now. Since then, little bits and pieces of rocks, called terranes have attached themselves to North America so that the beachfront property is currently out on the coast of Oregon. That process is called accretion. What we're looking at in Idaho is the sharpest boundary between what used to be old North America and what is an accreted terrane."

IDOR PIsKathy Davenport, Ray Russo, John Hole, Rich Gaschnig, Basil Tikoff, Jeff Vervoort, Victor Mocanu
photo courtesy Basil Tikoff

The IDOR project has four different principal investigators, called PIs. The PIs are Basil Tikoff (University of Wisconsin, Madison, NSF EAR 0844260), John Hole (Virginia Tech, NSF EAR 0844264), Ray Russo (University of Florida, NSF EAR 0844187), and Jeff Vervoort (Washington State University, NSF EAR 0844149). Each PI has a group of students that has worked with them, including going out into the field to gather different data sets.

IDOR Overview - 8:15

In this video, Basil Tikoff, John Hole, Ray Russo, and Jeff Vervoort describe how they work together using different methods to study this unique geological area.


The Chronicles crew accompanied several IDOR teams in Idaho as they collected gravity readings, took rock samples, and removed a seismometer. Fieldwork participants included research scientist Victor Mocanu (University of Bucharest) and students from the University of Wisconsin, Carleton College, SUNY-Geneseo, and the University of Florida.

Gravity Research info & media links ...

Seismic Research info & media links ...

Structural Geology Research info & media links ...