"Banks Lake" by NPS/Dubar , public domain

Ice Age Floods

Washington Section

brochure Ice Age Floods - Washington Section

Brochure and Map of the Washington Section of Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail (NGT) in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Published by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

i l l e r a I e c Ginkgo Petrified Forest 7 Ripple marks 9 Lo be et g u P Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center ol C R be S ! ! ! O c e a n Beacon Rock State Park ! Columbia Hills Historical State Park Maryhill State Park ia b um l Co er Riv ! a k e Map Symbols Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, secondary route Area affected by ice-age floods Select ice-age floods site with associated geoheritage values recreation ecology science & research Wal l a Wal l a M O N TA N A geologic features economy culture The Floods Po rtlan d During the last ice age, between 12 and 17,000 years ago, glaciers covered much of northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The ice was miles thick in places. Portions of the glaciers repeatedly blocked large river drainages, forming ice dams. Lakes formed behind the ice dams, growing to small inland seas rivaling the size of the Great Lakes. The largest of these glacial lakes was Glacial Lake Missoula in what is now Montana. The lake was approximately 2,500 feet deep in places and extended over 3,000 square miles. It held as much water as about half of Lake Michigan. When the ice dam burst, all of the water suddenly drained in a matter of days, surging over Idaho, eastern Washington, and Oregon. The vast amount of water moving over a very short period of time carved the deeply scoured terrain that forms much of the dramatic landscape we see today. O R E G O N In the aftermath of the initial flood, the process of river blockage, ice-dam lake formation, and catastrophic release occurred repeatedly. Evidence suggests that there could have been as many as 100 separate floods at intervals of about every 50 years. The features it created are colossal. The water plucked giant columns out of the basalt, created smoothed mesas and giant potholes, and formed ripple marks between 15 and 30 feet tall. Collectively, this landscape is called the Channeled Scablands. The floods left behind many other distinctive features, such as, buttes, coulees, and flood bars. Palouse River Canyon 1 Eugene Ecology The ice-age floods left behind prime landscapes for recreation. State Parks, wildlife refuges, and other protected land ensures continued availability for public use and wildlife habitat. Visitors can take in the stunning views while hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, boating, bird watching, or wildlife viewing. The shrub steppe ecology found in eastern Washington supports many types of species only found in this type of environment. Flood-scoured basalt formations provide unique habitat for wildlife. The Hanford Reach region on the Columbia River provides habitat for a number of different species including migratory birds, native mammals, and spawning salmon. Current research on these landscapes is now being conducted by NASA. The channeled scablands closely resemble the surface of Mars, and offer a much closer locality for hands-on study. By studying the catastrophic effects of the water on the basalt landscape of Earth, scientists can correlate these to similar features on Mars. Places to go: Potholes State Park Places to go: Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge Places to go: The REACH-Hanford Reach Interpretive Center Bridgeport State Park Culture Economy The unique landscape left by the floods has been used by Native Americans for centuries. Historic campsites, petroglyphs, stone and bone tools, and other relics found along the paths of the floods, help us to better understand these ancestral peoples whose descendants still populate the region. The economy of the channeled scablands and the Pacific Northwest is supported by features created by the floods. The voluminous Columbia River discharges an average of 264,900 cubic feet per second. Industry in the dryland regions of eastern Washington depends on this lifeline for transportation, energy, agriculture, earth materials, and irrigation. The terrain left by the floods also influences how present-day Washingtonians use this region. Cultural exhibits at many of the selected sites have more information on the lives and livelihoods of those who call this territory their home. Places to go: Grand Coulee Dam Maryhill State Park Places to go: Columbia Hills Historical State Park Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center Fort Spokane Visitor Center Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Yakima Sportsman State Park Palouse Falls State Park Vineyards in eastern Washington 23 Native Americans fishing at Celilo Falls (now inundated by Lake Celilo) 21 Petroglyphs at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park 20 Data Sources: Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail routes adapted from Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail Long-Range Interpretive Plan Master Trail Map. Glacial ice and ice-age flood affected areas modified from Silkwood, J.T. (1998), Glacial Lake Missoula and the channeled scabland : a digital portrait of landforms of the last ice age, Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho, and western Montana, United States Forest Service, Northern Region, Minerals & Geology, Geology Program Digital Mapping. Hiking below Dry Falls 13 Bird watching 12 M i ssoul a P e ndl eton Recreation Boating and fishing on the Yakima River 11 ! Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, primary route A sto r i a Historical research of the floods has contributed to our understanding of catastrophic processes. Ongoing research has helped us understand the sources of ice-age flood waters, the effects vast amounts of water had on surface topography, and the intervals at which these floods occurred. Sun Lakes–Dry Falls State Park I D A H O Tr i C i t i e s Science & Research Lincoln Rock State Park b a n d s Palouse Falls State Park Cape Disappointment 10 Beacon Rock State Park l L Tu r n b u l l N a t i o n a l Wi l d l i f e R e f u g e Lew i s ton The REACH Hanford Reach Interpretive Center ! Basalt columns 8 c a n l C oeur d’ Al ene ! P a c i f i c Seep Lakes 6 Beacon Rock 4 Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park \ Wa n a p u m R e c r e a t i o n a l A r e a h n e l e d ia la White Bluffs Touchet beds 5 Dry Falls 3 ! ! c u Palouse Falls 2 Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Ya k i m a C a ! l a e d o Beacon Rock State Park Sun Lakes–Dry Falls State Park W A S H I N G T O N Ya k i m a Sportsman State Park ob ea s Steamboat Rock State Park Potholes State Park Ellensburg L th s Geologic features can be seen at sites all along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, including: Palouse Falls State Park We n a t c h e e ! S pokane Sun Lakes– Dry Falls State Park ! la i Bedrock features: colonnades, arches, entablatures Erosional landforms: scablands, coulees, cataracts Depositional landforms: gravel bars, rhythmites, ripple marks Glacial features: erratics, moraines, kames, eskers, drumlins Wind deposits: dunes, loess hills Fossils: petrified wood, mammoth bones Lincoln Rock State Park F M • • • • • • ne stli coa ge ice-a approximate The catastrophic force of the flood waters (see“The Floods” at right) left behind or exposed many different geologic features which can be seen along the trail. Some of these features include: Olympia Fort Spokane Vi s i t o r C e n t e r Steamboat Rock State Park Seattle ! ! G Grand Coulee Dam Vi s i t o r C e n t e r Bridgeport State Park Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail Geologic Features Lo no O ka The recently designated Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, which traverses parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, is a prime example of our shared geoheritage. Sites along the Ice Age Floods trail highlight multiple geoheritage values and offer an excellent opportunity to connect the public to the natural environment. In 2009, Congress established the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, the first ever national geologic trail. Still in the development stage, the National Park Service is coordinating the planning and development of the trail with public and private landowners, local and tribal governments, the Ice Age Floods Institute, and other interested parties. The trail will consist of an existing network of highways, roads, and footpaths which will offer interpretive opportunities to bring the story of the ice-age floods to visitors. e h S ga n “Geoheritage is the collection of natural wonders, landforms, and resources that have formed over eons and come to this generation to manage, use, and conserve effectively. Geoheritage locations are valued for many reasons including: scientific, economic, ecological, education, cultural, aesthetic, artistic, and recreational purposes.” – American Geosciences Institute n t e Pu rc el l Tr en Lo ch be d bi a Lo be r er o iv C um “Our Shared Geoheritage” Wildflowers above Palouse Falls 15 Bull elk 14 Sockeye salmon 17 White pelican at Hanford Reach 16 Geologists collecting rock samples above Lake Roosevelt 19 Basalt columns in the Channeled Scablands (left) compared with basalt columns on Mars (right) 18 Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 10, 13, 15, 16) Daniel Coe, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources; 4, 23) Dave Norman, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources; 5, 6, 7, 9) Washington Geologic Survey Photo Collection; 8, 20) J. Whitmer, Washington Geologic Survey Photo Collection; 11) Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, http://bit.ly/2e33bpY; 12) George Gentry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 14) Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, http://bit.ly/2dLKlF5; 17) Dave Menke, United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library; 18) David Weiss, National Aeronautics and Space Administration/University of Arizona; 19) Michael Polenz, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources; 21) Sean Linehan, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Historic Fisheries Collection; 22) Joe Smillie, Washington State Department of Natural Resources; 24) United States Bureau of Reclamation, http://on.doi.gov/2dtiVli Wheat harvest and wind turbine 22 Grand Coulee Dam 24

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