Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods
One of the greatest sets of geological events to ever have occurred in North America was the Missoula Floods. Occurring as many as 40 times during the last ice age, the floods were caused by waters released from ancient Lake Missoula that scoured the Columbia River basin, carved out the Columbia River Gorge, and swept across at least 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest. This Science Pub will focus on the incredible story of discovery and development of the idea of the floods by J Harlen Bretz and will discuss the effect of the floods on the landscape of the Willamette Valley and the area around us.
Scott Burns, PhD, is a professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University where he has been for nearly 20 years. Scott specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and Quaternary geology. In Oregon, he has projects involving landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, the Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development. He has won many awards for outstanding teaching including the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association in 2001 and the George Hoffmann Award from PSU in 2007. He has authored over 90 publications and has had over 25 research grants. He actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public and, for the past 40 years, he has been studying wine and terroir—the relationship between wine, soils, geology, and climate.