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Abstract

This one-day field trip of geologic and historical significance goes from Washtucna, Washington, through Palouse Falls State Park, Lyons Ferry State Park, and Starbuck, and ends in the Tucannon River valley. At Palouse Falls, it is readily apparent why Native Americans crafted stories about the origins of this spectacular area and why geologic debates regarding the role of Pleistocene glacial Lake Missoula floods during the formation of this natural wonderland have been centered here. This field trip focuses on structural geology and the Palouse Falls fracture zone, Columbia River Basalt Group stratigraphy at the falls, and subsequent erosion by glacial outburst floods. Discussion of the falls will include human history and the formation of Palouse Falls State Park. The main stop at Palouse Falls will explore the stratigraphy of the Columbia River Basalt Group, Vantage Member, loess islands, fracture zones, and human history dating back at least 12,000 yr. Driving south through Lyons Ferry State Park and the Tucannon Valley, we will discuss topics ranging from the Palouse Indians to sheep herding and from clastic dikes to terracettes.

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