Greetings and good morning!
This is Andy, your LPSA staff assistant. Yesterday was our first full day in the field and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we are having an incredible time.
We took measurements at some of our first columnar basalt outcrops, felt the strange soapy/slick water at Soap Lake, examined the erratic (foreign; transported from elsewhere by glacier) rocks at the terminal moraine from the last Ice Age, and studied the astounding scablands landscape features at Dry Falls and Frenchman's Springs.
The complex cooling history of the Columbia basalts and the intensity of the Missoula Flood are very apparent. These landscape features are BIG!
I would love to write more but it is time for us to depart on our next expedition. See you in Moscow, Idaho tonight.
"In a series of papers published between 1923 and 1932, J Harlen Bretz described an enormous plexus of proglacial stream channels eroded into the loess and basalt of the Columbia Plateau, eastern Washington. He argued that this region, which he called the Channeled Scablands, was the product of a cataclysmic flood, which he called the Spokane flood. Considering the Nature and vehemence of the opposition to his hypothesis, which was considered outrageous, its eventual scientific verification constitutes one of the most fascinating episodes in the history of modern science."
Victor R. Baker, 1978
In Baker's 1978 paper, he highlights the relationship between the flood morphology of the channeled scablands and the flood channels on Mars. In both cases, cataclysmic floods scoured the landscape, producing deeply incised river valleys, streamlined hills, and other indicative erosional features.
The recent discovery of columnar jointing in Martes Valles, Mars (Milazzo et al., 2009) has strengthened the relationship between the Channeled Scablands, where jointing is readily observable in the Columbia basalts, and our terrestrial neighbor.