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The Columbia River system is one of the great river systems of North America, draining much of the Pacific Northwest, as well as parts of the western United States and British Columbia. The river system has had a long and complex history, slowly evolving over the past 17 m.y. The Columbia River and its tributaries have been shaped by flood basalt volcanism, Cascade volcanism, regional tectonism, and finally outburst floods from Glacial Lake Missoula. The most complex part of river development has been in the northern part, the Columbia Basin, where the Columbia River and its tributaries were controlled by...

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