On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods
A geological field guide to the Mid-Columbia Basin
By Bruce Bjornstad
Nonfiction, 308 pages, 6" x 9" softcover, 262 black-and-white illustrations, maps and photos, 20 color plates, index, in its fourth printing
In this first volume of On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods, geologist Bruce Bjornstad explores those legendary floods, explains the features they created, and guides readers to trails and tours in the Mid-Columbia Basin to witness the floods' awesome power for themselves. This readable, useable field guide is rich in detail and makes the Ice Age floods tale more fascinating and intriguing than ever.
During the last great Ice Age that ended some 15,000 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was repeatedly decimated by cataclysmic floods unlike anything of modern times. Giant ancient lakes such as Glacial Lake Missoula were created as lobes of the massive ice sheets blocked river valleys. These “ice dams” broke time and again over the millennia, sending walls of ice-laden water, miles wide and hundreds of feet deep, racing over the land at speeds up to 80 mph – scouring a fantastic landscape and leaving a fascinating geologic record for us to wonder at today.
Now geologist Bruce Bjornstad has written the most comprehensive guidebook yet to the incredible landforms scoured out by the Ice Age floods in the Mid-Columbia Basin. His book, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: A geological field guide to the Mid Columbia Basin explores the origins, timing and frequency of the Ice Age floods and describes each of 19 geologic features they left behind. It is also an exciting field guide to features, trails and tours in the Mid-Columbia Basin where we may witness today the awesome power of the ancient floods. The guide includes:
- Explanations of landforms created by the floods, from hanging coulees and giant gravel bars to ice-rafted “erratics” such as boulders carried on huge ice bergs and deposited hundreds of miles from their places of origin.
- Detailed descriptions of 70 distinct flood-formed features scattered throughout the basin, with driving directions to observation points
- 30 off-road hiking and biking trails where adventurers can walk and ride amid the flood geology.
- 5 driving tours and 2 aerial tours for day trips to view the scope of the landscape carved by the great floods.
- Illustrated with more than 200 maps, schematics, photos and illustrations, including 16 pages of color plates, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods provides a clear, concise and easily usable guide to the remarkable geologic record of the great Ice Age floods.
Useful companions to this book: On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches and IAFI Map of the Ice Age Floods in the Pacific Northwest
A resident of Richland, Washington, Bruce Bjornstad is a licensed geologist/hydrogeologist who has studied the Ice Age floods since 1980. He is a senior research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is an active member of the Ice Age Floods Institute and regularly lectures and leads field trips on the subject.
Bruce Bjornstad films awe-inspiring floodscapes using his GoPro camera and Quadricopter. Click these clips below to see the amazing landscapes that he writes about in his guidebooks!
'Dry Falls Floodscape'
'Wallula Gap Floodscape'
'Deep Lake Potholes Floodscape'
'Drumheller Channels Floodscape'