About Geology - Ice Age Floods
Information about the geology, Ice Age Floods / Missoula Floods, lava plateaus and flood basalts is provided for Southeast Washington that includes Tri-Cities Washington. Check out the following topics:
Also, view the author's blog for a weekly list of Events & Things to Do in the Tri-Cities region. Most of these events are shared on Facebook (10K+ likes) with updates to Twitter. So share and follow!
Tri-Cities Geology and Ice Age Floods
The geology of the Tri-Cities area is very unique in that it consists of a basalt and lava landscape carved by the great Ice Age Floods. During the largest floods the Tri-Cities lay under 900 feet of floodwater (i.e., Lake Lewis) that backed up behind the hydraulic constriction at Wallula Gap. During this time the tops of the local hills (e.g., Badger and Candy Mountains) were "islands" poking out above Lake Lewis. The floods also carved the basalt and lava landscape to create the Channeled Scablands in Eastern Washington.
You will find information about the Ice Age Floods on this page by two Tri-Citians, Bruce Bjornstad and Tom Foster, along with information about the Lake Lewis Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute, based in the Tri-Cities. Additional resources about the Ice Age Floods, Columbia River Basalt Group, and Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington are also provided.
Geology & Ice Age Floods Field Trips - 2017
The The REACH Museum in Richland is offering several geology & Ice Age Floods field trips starting in April 2017 that feature local geologists as tour guides.
For more information, visit: 2017 Tour Schedule.
- April 7 - Badger Mountain Geology Hike
- April 14 - Western Scablands of the Ice Age Floods
- April 22 - Rattlesnake Mountain Erratic's and Wildflower Hike
- April 29 - Hydrogeology of Beer and Wine
- May 6 - Dry Falls and the Lower Grand Coulee
- May 20 - Rock Hunting
- June 3 - Wallula Gap Hike
- June 9 - Dry Falls and the Lower Grand Coulee
- June 16 - Eastern Scablands of the Ice Age Floods
- July 23 - Jet Boat/Bus Tour along the White Bluffs to West Bar
- July 14 - Jet Boat/Bus Tour along Snake River to Windust Park/Palouse Falls
- July 21 - Eastern Scablands of the Ice Age Floods
- August 5 - Geology of the Mid-Columbia/Hanford Reach National Monument
- August 19 - Coyote Canyon Mammoth Dig and Ice Age Floods Features of Benton and Walla Walla Counties
- August 26 - Tri-City Geology Tour
- September 23 - Southern Cheney-Palouse Scablands and Palouse Falls
Ice Age Floods Institute & Lake Lewis Chapter
About the Ice Age Floods Institute
The Ice Age Floods Institute (IAFI) is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that is committed to the recognition and presentation of the Ice Age Floods as a significant part of the nation's, and the world's, natural heritage. You can find excellent resources (books, maps, videos, etc.) related to the Ice Age Floods.
IAFI is committed to working with Congress to support the National Park Service's effort to form the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail which would essentially be a network of marked touring routes extending across parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, with several special interpretive centers located across the region.
Lake Lewis Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute - Tri-Cities
The Lake Lewis Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute represents the Tri-Cities area and south-central and southeastern Washington and the adjacent areas in Idaho and Oregon.
The Lake Lewis Chapter offers lectures and field trips in the Tri-Cities region that are open to the public. In addition, this chapter has published the Lake Lewis Floodscape Brochure that includes a map of the region and several short articles about not-to-be-missed Ice Age floods features.
Ice Age Floods Glossary of Technical Terms
A Glossary of Technical Terms Related to the Ice Age Floods was prepared by the Ice Age Floods Institute to help people of all backgrounds understand the geologic terms used to explain phenomena related to the Ice Age Floods.
Bruce Bjornstad - Geologist & Author
Tom Foster - HUGEfloods
Tom Foster, who lives in the Tri-Cities, maintains HUGEfloods which is an excellent website with many photographs of geologic features he has taken. He has produced several popular "I-90 Rocks" and "2 Minute Geology" videos with Nick Zentner (Central Washington University) and lists 25 features related to the Ice Age Floods region.
Columbia Plateau Columbia River Basalt Group
The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington has published information on the Columbia Plateau Columbia River Basalt Group.
Hiking Guide to Washington Geology
The Hiking Guide to Washington Geology, by Bob Carson & Scott Babcock, offers more than 50 superb hikes, from short day trips to overnight backpacking treks, to the best spots around Washington to see the Earth's most monumental forces at work.
Ice Age Flood Features Near Richland, Washington - Road Guide
Ice Age Flood Features Near Richland, Washington is a road guide that describes two routes for self-guided tours of Ice Age flood features and local wineries within 20 miles of Richland, Washington. Nine stops are identified where evidence of these cataclysmic floods can be observed first hand. The guide also provides background information on the origin and destructive power of the Ice Age floods as well as their impact on the terroir of Washington's primary wine producing regions.
Ice Age Floods in Washington: A Cybertour
Ice Age Floods in Washington: A Cybertour explores the impact of the Ice Age floods on Washington state and covers fourteen areas of interest.
Ice Age Floods Institute - Book Store
The Ice Age Floods Institute (IAFI) has an online store that has a good selection of books, DVDs, and videos available on the Ice Age Floods. Buying from the IAFI helps its mission to educate the public and increase appreciation for the floods story.
Kid's Cosmos - Field Trip to Mars
Kid's Cosmos, based in Spokane, is a dedicated group of amateur astronomers, teachers, parents, and sponsors who hope to maintain student interest in science throughout their school years and beyond. They created Cosmos, the Research Robot, who will help you find out how the geology of Mars compares to Washington with a Field Trip to Mars.
Mystery of the Megaflood
NOVA Science Programming On Air And Online (PBS) provides information on the Mystery of the Megaflood with topics that include Fantastic Floods, Ice Age Lake, and Explore the Scablands.
On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods
On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: A Geological Field Guide to the Mid-Columbia Basin by Bruce Bjornstad, a geologist from the Tri-Cities, shows the best places to hike, bike, drive and fly to see the unique and awesome geologic features in this region.
On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches is a following up on the book above. Geologist Bruce Bjornstad joined forces with Emeritus Professor Eugene Kiver to guide readers upstream - The Northern Reaches - in Volume 2. This book focuses on northern Idaho and the Channeled Scabland.
The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington
The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington summarizes the sequence of geologic events that culminated in the so-called "Spokane Flood," and was prepared in response to a general interest in geology and a particular interest in the origin of the Scablands often expressed by those crossing the State of Washington.
The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction
The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction was published by Scott K. Johnson. Scott is a hydrogeologist, educator, and a technical contributor to Ars Technica. In 2014, he made a trip to Eastern Washington to check out the Scablands first hand. At Frenchman Coulee, he met up with local geologist, Bruce Bjornstad.
Where the Great River Bends
Where the Great River Bends, edited by Robert J Carson, is a book about the natural and human history of the Columbia at Wallula. This book covers the geography, geology, biology and history of an area symbolized by a unique geologic feature, the Twin Sisters. Here the Ice Age floods rushed through, Native Americans lived, fur trappers traded and railroads thrived, making it an important historical and cultural landmark in the West's awesome landscape.