Documented Flooding in the Pacific Northwest

Alan Feuerbacher

I describe here a series of floods which occurred thousands of years ago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. These floods have been called the "Missoula" or "Spokane" or "Bretz" Floods at various times in the twentieth century. They occurred in parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and drained through the valley of the Columbia, the major river of the region.

The best description of these floods is found in the book Cataclysms on the Columbia.141 Here are some excerpts.

It is now generally agreed that between 12,800 and 15,000 years ago more than 40 tremendous deluges [italics added] of almost inconceivable force and dimensions swept across large parts of the Columbia River drainage. They were the greatest scientifically documented floods known to have occurred in North America. Nearly 16,000 square miles were inundated to depths of hundreds of feet. Swollen by the flood waters, the Columbia grew to contain ten times the flow of all the rivers in the world today and 60 times the flow of the Amazon River.

More than 50 cubic miles of soft silt, sediment and hard lava were carved out into a network of scabland channels, whose bare and eroded basalt surfaces and dry falls now typify large parts of the Columbia Plateau. The Willamette Valley [in Oregon] was flooded as far south as Eugene, and where Portland lies today, the levels reached a height of 400 feet....142

A geologist named J. Harlan Bretz, for whom the floods have been named, did much of the work of documenting the details of the floods. Here is Bretz's description of the above mentioned scabland channels, which are located mainly in eastern Washington State.

'No one with an eye for land forms can cross eastern Washington in daylight without encountering and being impressed by the "scabland." Like great scars marring the otherwise fair face of the plateau are these elongated tracts of bare, or nearly bare, black rock carved into mazes of buttes and canyons. Everyone on the plateau knows scabland. It interrupts the wheatlands, parceling them out into hill tracts less than forty acres to more than forty square miles in extent. One can neither reach them nor depart from them without crossing some part of the ramifying scabland. Aside from affording a scanty pasturage, scabland is almost without value. The popular name is an expressive metaphor. The scablands are wounds only partially healed -- great wounds in the epidermis of soil with which Nature protects the underlying rock.

'With eyes only a few feet above the ground the observer today must travel back and forth repeatedly and must record his observations mentally, photographically, by sketch and by map before he can form anything approaching a complete picture. Yet long before the paper bearing these words has yellowed, the average observer, looking down from the air as he crosses the region, will see almost at a glance the picture here drawn by piecing together the ground-level observations of months of work. The region is unique: let the observer take the wings of morning to the uttermost parts of the earth: he will nowhere find its likeness.' [italics added] (1928)143

One of the scabland's most striking features is the braided pattern of the canyons, where they split and reunite and cross one another, carved into solid bedrock. This is in sharp contrast to a normal river drainage system, which forms a tree-like branching pattern where small tributaries flow into increasingly larger streams and rivers. A few rivers today form these braided patterns, such as the Platte River of Nebraska, or some of the Arctic tundra rivers. But these rivers braid through their own sediments, not solid bedrock as in the scablands.

A normal river system in rocky areas forms relatively slowly, the current deepening the channel and carrying away the eroded remnants of the banks. A branching network of more or less "V" shaped valleys is the result, as can be seen across much of the western United States. The scabland canyons fail to comply with this picture.

In the Scablands there is too much a look of 'gouging,' as though some sudden and short-lived force had spent all its strength in one tremendous impulsion and cut neatly (in a single gesture) through whatever lay in its path....

.... the Scabland channels must have been full-to-the-brim water conveyors, full-running trenches that had flowed over their tops in multiple locations making spillways and braidings between the larger channels and forming the Scabland's distinct and perplexing canyon network. There is no other way to account for these secondary, inter-connecting channels; the spillways show that water had clearly overtopped the rims of the primary canyons and spread out into secondary channels.144

As a river cuts into bedrock it forms many "potholes," which are areas that have been gouged by the turbulent action of flowing sediments, and which normally range from a few inches to a few feet,

.... but they're insignificant compared to what one finds in [the scablands]. There the potholes are gargantuan -- giant, gaping hollows created by giant turbulence.145

Another unusual feature of the Missoula flood area is the existence of huge gravel bars within the channeled scabland, first pointed out by Bretz.

What Bretz began to notice were certain immense elevated hills or ridges within the Scablands channels. Unlike the surrounding terrain, these hills were singularly smooth and rounded in shape, but what was most surprising about them was their location. They lay high up within the channel complex but still below the upper rim of the canyon walls, an unusual place for such formations to exist.... [Bretz] began to realize that the Scablands' intra-canyon 'hills' might just be larger-than-ever piles of river debris.... They lay precisely in those places where -- given an ancient flood -- backwaters, eddies, and side currents would have allowed gravel deposits to form. If this were the case, those immense ridges and mounds tucked back here and there throughout the Scabland coulees (and, for that matter, down through the Columbia Gorge and far into the Willamette Valley) were nothing more than overgrown gravel bars.146

These gravel bars were the major source of the concrete filler for many of the dams and highways along the Columbia. They typically show an effect called foreset bedding, which occurs as a bar builds and moves downstream, the top material rolling and spilling over the steep lower end. Eventually, the bar is composed of beds that slope steeply in the downstream direction. Gravel bars also plugged the mouths of the rivers and streams that empty into the Columbia.

.... Consider what must have happened when vast amounts of debris swept down the floodway, through the Scablands, down the Columbia Gorge and into the valleys below. The strong current in the middle would flush the debris on through. On the sides, however, on the edges and in the backwaters, were slower currents; and here the debris dropped out and settled in the piles Bretz began to recognize as gravel bars. As these bars grew higher with the passing of the flood, they formed hill-sized mounds that created natural levees. These filled up the mouths of side valleys and barricaded drainage routes. Then, once the main floodwaters receded, a series of lakes came into existence within these now-barricaded side valleys. When a lake level topped its debris dam, it rapidly cut through the material, breaching the barricade and quickly draining the lake.147

There is an excellent example of this side valley deposition near the mouth of Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, near the town of Cascade Locks, where I often hike. The hiking trail leads up the valley of Eagle Creek, hugging the steep valley wall. As one hikes higher into the valley, one can see and touch the debris left by the Missoula Floods. A notable feature is that the layers in the debris dip, or show foreset bedding, in the upstream direction, showing clearly that the debris came from downstream, i.e., the junction with the Columbia River. There is even a partially petrified tree stump embedded in the sediment. By about 750 feet elevation the debris is no longer evident, consistent with the depth of flooding in the Columbia valley as determined at many other locations.

Another unusual feature of the Missoula flood area is the number of misfit rocks.

These misfits, called 'erratics,' are rocks located a considerable distance away from their area of origin.

The Spokane Flood erratics -- as they would come to be known -- are by no means limited to the Columbia Gorge. They occur within the full sweep of the flood's path, from Lake Pend Oreille [in Idaho] to the sea and up Oregon's Willamette Valley as far south as Eugene. Altogether they're intriguing objects and easy enough to spot if one knows where to look. Some of the most eye-catching specimens (large, chalky-white boulders of granite) lie out on the farmland flats of Eastern Washington, near Ephrata and Soap Lake. The largest of these range (using rough comparisons) from the size of a pre-fab toolshed to that of a single car garage. There they sit -- plunk -- in the middle of fields, stolidly indifferent to the rerouting they cause in the otherwise straight and regular tractor furrows.

When geologists see large numbers of erratics, as Bretz did along the Columbia, and when some of these erratics are a thousand times larger than the river gravels transported by the Columbia today and are likely to be angular rather than smooth, they know something highly unusual has occurred. They know that these particular erratics have not been transported by the rolling, grinding, and polishing action of a river; [italics added] these boulders have clearly avoided the usual breaking up and smoothing down that occurs to river-tumbled rocks.

.... What is it that could move rocks up to 20 feet in diameter and weighing up to 200 tons and scatter them randomly over an area as large as the Columbia and Willamette Valleys, an area thousands of square miles in size?....

Bretz could think of only one feasible means of scattering such rocks randomly along this section of the Columbia river. They had floated in!.... They were moved by iceberg transport. Given a colder climate and higher waters than are now found in this part of the world, huge floating blocks of ice could have carried the rock material caught within their mass. When the icebergs melted, the rocks would drop out and settle by chance here and there, wherever water had been deep enough to support the drifting ice rafts.148

The Willamette Valley, with Portland at its north end, was flooded to an elevation of nearly 400 feet, and a temporary lake was formed as far south as Eugene, about 200 miles away. The elevation of Portland above sea level is about 100 feet. All of the documented erratics in the valley have been found at elevations below 400 feet. Note the following concerning erratics in the Willamette Valley.

.... [As the icebergs would melt, their cargo] of rocks and solid debris would drop out, float off or sink to the bottom of the lake. In this way the Floods scattered their erratic boulders, and in doing so they created an excellent gauge for recording lake levels. In the Willamette Valley.... the greatest number of erratics are found below the 400 foot level, indicating that the waters went no higher [italics added] and that a large number of the drifting bergs were grounded in the shallows at the lake edges.149

Many of the erratics bear scratches (striae), or grooves and faceted faces, an indication that while frozen in ice they had been ground against the bedrock as the glacier moved. Few of the rock types are found in Oregon. To find similar kinds of rock one must go to the Rocky Mountains in Montana and southern Canada. By 1935, [a geologist who documented the location of many erratics, Ira] Allison had noted over 300 localities where these erratics occur, in 249 different sections (square miles) of land....150

.... A unique and significant cobble (6 inches in diameter) was found many years ago in the excavation on the southeast corner of SW 10th. and Morrison Streets in downtown Portland. It is composed entirely of large bladed blue crystals of the rare mineral kyanite. Richmond (1935) reported that 'massive slide boulders of kyanite have been found near Revelstoke, B.C....' This is very convincing evidence of its origin in the Purcell Trench of British Columbia; the cobble was surely floated down in one of the Bretz floods, frozen in an iceberg.

.... A group of several erratics were found on the top of a low hill at 308 feet elevation a mile northeast of Gladstone [just south of Portland]. One of them consists of a well-preserved six-inch section of Baculites, an extinct shellfish related to the ammonites, found in Cretaceous rocks. It too, can only have come from rocks of that age in the intermontane trenches of British Columbia.151

.... The largest erratic now known in the valley.... is an argillite boulder, lying at 306 feet elevation on the top of a low spur half a mile north of Oregon 18 between McMinnville and Sheridan. It would have taken an iceberg measuring at least 34.3 feet on a side to have floated the 160 ton boulder into place!152

The nearest deposit of the mineral argillite is in southern British Columbia, consistent with the observed paths of the Cordilleran glacier and the Missoula flood waters. I've taken a look at this erratic boulder myself. Visible from the highway, on the top of a hill, the rock is a reminder that the spot was once under 200 feet of water, and the entire Willamette Valley was inundated. You can see photographs of some large erratics in Cataclysms on the Columbia.153

Note especially two points: (1) The geological evidence shows the waters went no higher than a specific elevation, about 400 feet above sea level in the Willamette Valley. (2) Erratics are found thinly scattered in the Willamette Valley, very often on hillsides.

If these erratics were brought in by the Flood, which "covered the high mountains," they should be found at all elevations. The Valley floor should be covered with erratics, but it is not. Much of the area is covered by a blanket of silt, with erratics found here and there. This evidence shows the erratics must have been brought in by ice bergs. But ice bergs couldn't have been in the Flood, as the earth "was in a hothouse condition."

The source of the water for the Missoula Floods was a temporary lake in northwestern Montana, formed by an ice dam on the Clark Fork River and dumped out onto the plains of eastern Washington when the ice dam formed by the Cordilleran ice sheet gave way. This is similar to what happened with the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska in 1986 when it blocked the outlet of Russell Fiord for about four months, and then gave way after the fiord filled with about 80 feet of water.

It happened this way. The lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet that occupied the Purcell Trench in British Columbia advanced southward down the trench to and beyond Pend Oreille lake. Each time it advanced up the Clark Fork several miles it formed an ice dam as much as 2500 feet high across the valley, impounding the waters behind the dam to form a great lake up to 2000 feet deep, covering 3000 square miles, and extending for 200 miles to the east in the intermontane valleys within the Rocky Mountains.

Each of this series of pre-historic lakes, now known collectively as Lake Missoula, contained over 500 cubic miles of water, one-fifth the volume of Lake Michigan. When the rising waters became deep enough to float the ice, they lifted up the dam and the ice was swept away. Within a few hours or days, up to 380 cubic miles of ice-choked water surged out at an estimated rate of 9.5 cubic miles an hour and swept southwesterly at speeds of from 30 to 50 miles an hour across the Columbia Plateau.

Each time Lake Missoula emptied, the ice lobe, continuing its southerly progression, would build a new dam and form a new lake, resulting in a new flood. This happened on an average of every 55 years or so for 2000 years!154

There is direct evidence that Lake Missoula existed. Former beach lines, representing various stands of the lake level, are visible on the mountain slopes surrounding the city of Missoula, Montana. See for example, photographs in Cataclysms on the Columbia155 and Landprints.156

There is also strong evidence that there have been many of these floods.

The repeated flooding has been indicated by 'rhythmic bedding' of sediments laid down in areas where flood waters, over and over, backed up and laid down successive layers of sediment. The bedding is rhythmic in the uniform spacing of its stacked layers, each twenty to forty inches thick and changing from sand on the bottom of the layer (laid down at the start of the flood) to fine silt on the top. They are exposed at numerous sites along the Yakima and Walla Walla rivers in the Pasco Basin [in eastern Washington].... In Montana.... [on] the floor of Lake Missoula, rhythmic bedding can be seen in a [road] cut near Ninemile Creek. Between the flood deposits are lake sediments in which [Richard B.] Waitt [of the U.S. Geological Survey] has counted from twenty to fifty-five annual layers, indicating that the floods were spaced twenty to sixty years apart.157

.... [sections of the Walla Walla valley] are underlain in part by the fine-grained layered sediments known as the Touchet Beds, deposited by the Bretz floods as it dropped its load of debris in this backwater.

Three miles south of Loudon (U.S. 12) an irrigation ditch broke many years ago. It washed out and excavated a narrow ravine widely known as 'Burlingame Gulch'. This gulch exposes 40 of the 62 layers.... described by Waitt and Bjornstadt in 1980. Each rhythmite is believed by most geologists to represent a separate flood.... The waters drained out after each flood through the narrows west of Touchet slowly enough to permit settling of the fine sand and silt into one rhythmite doublet.

A significant thin double layer of white volcanic ash between the 28th and 29th rhythmites in the Touchet Beds at Burlingame Gulch has been firmly identified as the 'Set S' ash from Mt. St. Helens. This has been dated at 13,000 years before the present....

A similar series of up to 40 rhythmites were discovered in 1965.... along the banks of the Willamette River on the 'Big Bend' between Dayton and St. Paul. They constitute the only evidence so far that multiple floods covered the Willamette Valley in Oregon.158

See photographs in Cataclysms on the Columbia159 and Landprints.160

When the ice dam gave way there was a tremendous outflow of water. In 1942 a geologist named Joseph Pardee published an understated paper, entitled "Unusual Currents in Lake Missoula", concerning this outflow:

The nature of Lake Missoula's intra-valley layout created a number of narrow passes where the velocity of the out-rushing water, according to Pardee's calculations, 'reached a maximum of 9.46 cubic miles per hour.'....

.... where was the proof? How could Pardee be sure that 'a sudden great outrush of water' had in fact burst through the Clark Fork ice dam?.... Pardee, to put it simply, had discovered ripple marks left on the floor sediments of lake Missoula.

Ripple marks? We all know what those are, don't we? They're nothing but those small, wavy, configurations that show up along the shorelines of lakes, rivers, or oceans, wherever the water has retreated a bit. At the beach they're found in the shallow, sandy hollows that appear at low tide: lumpy, washboard-like formations, strange to walk on and pleasing in their smooth, patterned regularity. And what creates ripple marks? Currents -- it's all the result of currents flowing over the bottom and warping the sediments into smooth, parallel, ridge-rows.

This is where the 'unusual currents' in Pardee's title come in. Back in the valley basins, east of where the Lake Missoula ice dam had stood, Pardee had discovered ripple marks to end all ripple marks. And they could only have been formed by currents of an inconceivable size. In a sense, however, Pardee had not discovered anything 'new' at all. These ripple marks had been there since the Pleistocene. The catch was that no one, before Pardee, had truly seen the Lake Missoula specimens. They had been walked upon, measured, and described...., but they had not been recognized for what they were. Like Bretz's giant gravel bars, they had neatly disguised themselves as hills, rows of long, stretching, rounded hills, up to 50 feet high and spaced up to 500 feet apart.

In geology, viewpoint can be everything, and scale is easily deceiving. 'Ripple' is not a word that brings to mind something large. It's a word we use for configurations that allow an overview, that show us the whole pattern in a single glance. For Pardee overview came with flight. From the air, symmetry and form reveal themselves, topography shrinks down to a meaningful size, and what felt like a succession of rather undistinguished hills to the pedestrian is suddenly unmasked as a series of extraordinary ridges that have, as Pardee says, 'the form, structure, and arrangement of ordinary ripple marks but are so large that the term "ripple mark" seems inappropriate.'161

These ripple marks appear not only in the bed of Lake Missoula, but all through the channeled scablands of eastern Washington, the length of the Columbia River Gorge, and in parts of the Willamette Valley. Photographs of giant ripple marks can be seen in Cataclysms on the Columbia162 and in Landprints.163 More than one hundred rippled areas have been found along the path of the flood in Washington and Montana. They are striking when seen from the air.164

As the flood waters rushed over the land they stripped it of overlying soil and even cut deep into the underlying bedrock. The bedrock of the Columbia Plateau region was formed by tremendous floods of basalt which

.... originated between 16 and 6 million years ago, when the greatest outpouring of lavas recorded in the history of North America spread out across 80 thousand square miles of western Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon. The lava flows swept westward down a succession of broad valleys into the sea off northwestern Oregon.... This up to two-mile thick pile of black basalt, consisting of nearly 200 separate lava flows, is collectively called the Columbia River Basalt Group. But the flows with which we are concerned in this book are called the Yakima Basalt....

During the .... last ice age, the great Continental Ice Sheet advanced from Canada into the northern United States and retreated again, .... [many] times.... During the melting and recession of the ice, long interglacial warm and dry periods intervened, some perhaps even warmer than at present.... During the interglacial warm periods, the climate was so arid that the glacial outwash sediments in the valleys and basins along the course of the river (mostly rock ground up by the ice) were picked up and swirled about by violent dust storms all over the Northwest. In the Columbia Basin these deposits of wind-blown glacial dust and silt (loess) created the Palouse Formation with deposits up to 150 feet in thickness. It forms the fertile farmland that makes the Columbia Plateau one of the great food-producing areas of the world....165

The fertile soil of the Palouse Formation was stripped throughout the scablands, which are located

.... southwest of Spokane in eastern Washington. There a maze of interwoven channels has been carved out of the rolling Palouse country, the fertility of whose soil (a wind-deposited loess) has made its wheat fields among the nation's most productive. Even the underlying basalt of the Columbia Plateau has been deeply scoured. Between these channels are islands of undisturbed land, each tapering in the upslope direction as though carved by swift water.

.... [Bretz] pointed out that the whole plateau, covering most of eastern Washington, is tilted, forming a slope that drops off southwestward at about 20 feet per mile. It was down this slope, he said, that the flood raced, carving out such heroic features as Grand Coulee, racing through the Columbia Gorge, past Portland, and on to the sea, depositing a broad delta at the mouth of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. All the soil, 100 to 150 feet thick, was swept away from an area of 2,800 square miles, and the racing water cut deeply into the lava fields of the underlying basalt....

As evidence of the colossal rate of flow [Bretz] referred to the manner in which the surviving islands of soil, or loess, had been shaped. A striking feature, he said, is the way they taper at their northern ends, forming 'great prows, pointing up the scabland's gradient....'166

See photographs in Landprints167 and in Cataclysms on the Columbia.168

The elevation above which the stripping stops decreases smoothly from the floodwater's source in Montana to the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon. See, for example, the chart on page 105 of Cataclysms on the Columbia. This chart shows that the floods had a maximum depth that is well documented throughout the area of flooding.

Remains of mammoth tie together several lines of evidence about the Flood. Cataclysms on the Columbia says:

Numerous partial skeletons of the mammoth, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago, have been found in the Willamette Valley, and more are being found every few years. Some of them were found during plowing or in shallow excavations; some were found buried beneath tens of feet of silt.

Clearly, some of the mammoths were buried by the Missoula floods. The Society's claims about extinctions of mammoths would indicate that these mammoth skeletons had to be laid down during or before the Flood. But the evidence shows the Missoula floods were local events. Also, the mammoth skeletons were found in deposits that were positively identified with the Missoula floods. Therefore, if the Society is correct, the mammoths must have been buried before the Flood. But that means that the Missoula floods must have also occurred before the Flood, and since the Missoula floods require glaciers to account for the observed geological phenomena, glaciers must have existed before the Flood. But according to the Society, the earth was tropical at that time. Obviously the Society's explanation of the Flood is inconsistent with the physical evidence.

A good summary of the features of abnormally great floods is presented in Cataclysms on the Columbia.169

Both erosion and deposition of earth materials by abnormally great floods leave clear and long-lasting evidence of their passage. Twelve unique landforms and aspects of sediments left by the Bretz floods may be observed throughout over 16,000 square miles in the Northwest.

1. Relative scarcity of soil or soft sediment along floodways below the level of the highest flood crest....

2. Prominent high-water marks and shoreline features, cut into soil or rocks or deposited by waves and currents at heights hundreds of feet above present river levels.

3. 'Scabland' topography (mesas and intervening dry channels) resulting from the scouring and irregular plucking out of pieces of rock....

4. A braided.... pattern of the numerous dry channels, as well as divide-crossings where the floodwaters top their channels and spill over onto other channels or valleys producing.... hollows with no drainage outlets in the channel floors.

5. Widening and deepening of main valleys, forming steepened walls and cliffs (escarpments), faceted spurs (where a ridge, sloping down to the valley has had its lower end cut off) and hanging valleys (where the lower part has been cut away to form a waterfall) at the mouths of tributary streams.

6. Landslides or potential landslide areas, resulting from undercutting of valley walls or saturation of underlying soft sediments by water.

7. Presence of ice- (and tree-) rafted erratic boulders and smaller fragments of.... rocks which are not part of the natural rock formations where they are found.

8. Presence of originally round pebbles that have been broken into angular shapes, cracked by impact in high-energy torrents.

9. Longitudinal or eddy bars, perched high on the walls of the flood-scoured valleys. These are found below (downstream from) promontories or in reentrants (recesses or side valleys). Pendant bars are also common; they extend downstream behind the protection of a rock island or other such obstruction in the path of the floods. Expansion bars form where the water spreads out after passing through narrows and deposits some of its load.

10. Giant ripple ridges up to 50 feet high and 500 feet apart on the surface of both expansion and longitudinal bars below narrows. These 'giant ripple marks' require currents of up to 50 miles per hour and depths of up to 500 feet for their formation!

11. Foreset bedding in gravel bars.... These foreset beds are found along the sides of canyons tributary to the main river, and they dip in an opposite direction from what is normally the tributary stream's main current; in other words, they dip upstream, a clear indication that flood waters rushed up these tributaries and dumped part of their load.

12. Rhythmite sequences in tributary streams, composed of many layers, each one consisting of gravel or sand at the base, followed by silt and then clay at the top. Each rhythmite represents a separate flooding of the tributary stream. Within some of the rhythmites are sequences of annual layers called varves. These are much finer-grained, consisting of fine silt and clay deposited in a temporary lake in a side valley. By counting the number of varves between the larger and coarser flood deposits, one can estimate the number of years between successive floods.

The previous information shows some of the geological features to be found in extensively flooded areas. I'll let Cataclysms on the Columbia summarize the results so far:

Gravel bars, erratics, and channeling: in themselves there is nothing unusual in these features. All three are manifestations that normal streams are quite capable of producing, in small to moderate sizes; but Bretz's erratics were gargantuan, his channels beyond anything known on earth, and his gravel bars were the size of substantial hills.

The conclusion to all this should seem obvious. Something sudden and prodigious had carved out those Scabland channels. Something had moved those erratics; something had piled up those gravel hills. And what could that something be, other than a massive.... volume of water, rushing over the Columbia Plateau and leaving nearly 3000 square miles of scarred and denuded land behind?170

The reader who believes that the Biblical Flood was a historical event will probably claim that all these things are manifestations of that Flood. If the Flood actually happened, all the lands of the world ought to resemble the channeled scabland of Washington. But they do not. The many great canyons of the world are often cited as evidence for the Flood, yet these canyons exhibit none of the distinctive characteristics of the canyons of Washington's channeled scabland. They show no giant ripple marks, no giant gravel bars, no stripping of soil up to but not exceeding a clearly defined elevation, no faceted spurs, no hanging valleys, no braided and crisscrossing channels, and no generally scoured topography. On the contrary, the canyons exhibit characteristics typical of normal stream erosion over a long period of time. Similarly, areas that should have been flooded show no evidence for it, such as ice-rafted erratic boulders and scabland characteristics. Areas that geologists say were glaciated have a topography very different from the channeled scabland. They show evidence only of local floods that were associated with the overflow of large ice-age lakes, and no evidence of overall large scale flooding.


141 John Eliot Allen, Marjorie Burns, and Sam C. Sargent, Cataclysms on the Columbia, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 1986.

142 ibid, pp. 3-4.

143 ibid, pp. 31-32.

144 ibid, pp. 33-34.

145 ibid, p. 27.

146 ibid, pp. 37-39.

147 ibid, p. 92.

148 ibid, pp. 27-29.

149 ibid, p. 93.

150 ibid, p. 180.

151 ibid, p. 174.

152 ibid, p. 182.

153 ibid, p. 36, 126, 127, 136, 137, 149, 181, 183.

154 ibid, p. 104.

155 ibid, p. 57.

156 Walter Sullivan, Landprints, p. 165, Times Books, New York, NY, 1984.

157 ibid, p. 168.

158 John Eliot Allen, et al, op cit, p. 124.

159 ibid, p. 108, 110, 111, 125, 126, 162.

160 Walter Sullivan, op cit, p. 169.

161 John Eliot Allen, et al, op cit, pp. 63-65.

162 ibid, p. 38, 65, 143, 152.

163 Walter Sullivan, op cit, p. 168.

164 ibid, p. 164.

165 John Eliot Allen, et al, op cit, pp. 77-79.

166 Walter Sullivan, op cit, pp. 160-163.

167 ibid, pp. 161-168.

168 John Eliot Allen, et al, op cit, p. 113, 119, 151.

169 ibid, pp. 98-99.

170 ibid, pp. 40-41.