Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Palouse Falls and the Missoula Floods

I am fascinated by the Lake Missoula Floods.  That's where a gigantic ice age lake near what is now Missoula Montana broke through an ice plug and roared across parts of  Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.  In Oregon, it came down the Columbia Gorge at an estimated speed of 70-80 miles per hour, and that is why we have all those wonderful waterfalls.  It happened more than once, filling the Columbia Gorge, carrying lots of soil and rocks the size of school buses.  When it reached the Willamette Valley, it had the room to slow down and deposit all that soil from Eastern Washington.   The topsoil in the Willamette Valley is 300-400 feet deep.   Sorry, Washington.  We have all your topsoil and we aren't giving it back.

Palouse Falls are in the scablands of Washington and are part of the Missoula Floods geology.  I'd love to go there.  Recently a Portland Hiker named Dean did and he took some fabulous photos.  Portland Hikers lets people post trip reports for their hikes and their are many great photographers who post their photos.  There is lots of other cool information about hiking on Portland Hikers as well.

Dean's trip to Palouse Falls

Map showing Missoula Flood path

Missoula Floods

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