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Landslides and floods of lava and water tremendously affected the Columbia River during its long history of transecting the Cascade Volcanic Arc. This field trip touches on aspects of the resulting geology of the scenic Columbia River Gorge, including the river-blocking Bonneville landslide of ~550 years ago and the great late-Pleistocene Missoula floods. Not only did these events create great landscapes, but they inspired great geologists. Mid-nineteenth century observations of the Columbia River and Pacific Northwest by James Dwight Dana and John Strong Newberry helped germinate the “school of fluvial” erosion later expanded upon by the southwestern United States topographic and geologic surveys. Later work on features related to the Missoula floods framed the career of J Harlen Bretz in one of the great geologic controversies of the twentieth century.

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