Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods

Dr. Scott Burns, professor of geology at Portland State University, describes the ice-age floods that carved out and changed the landscape of the Columbia River Gorge 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. The floods, caused by the repeated breaking of an ice dam on glacial Lake Missoula in western Montana, created the Pacific Northwest landscapes we know today, including scabland buttes, dry falls, and dried river channels. Over 50 percent of the topography of the Portland area owes its origin to the Missoula floods.

Scott Burns has been teaching for 43 years. He is professor of geology at Portland State University, where he has taught for 23 years.

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