"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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet the Expedition Leaders: Jason Barnes

Dr. Jason W. Barnes is a planetary scientist and Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Idaho.  He will be providing a local perspective on the area, having both lived in the channeled scablands for the past 3 years and led a prior field trip to the area in 2003 (see pictures from that trip at: http://barnesos.net/homepage/lpl/fieldtrips/CRB/ ).  After having grown up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jason received his B.S. in Astronomy from Caltech in 1998, and his Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from The University of Arizona in 2004.  He and Brian Jackson are therefore old grad school buddies.  Jason studies two disparate fields of planetary science: extrasolar planets, and the geology of Saturn's moon Titan.  His extrasolar planet work involves working with NASA's Kepler mission to characterize giant planets in other solar systems.  For Titan he works with the Cassini spacecraft, specifically the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument, looking at Titan's surface from orbit around Saturn.  Jason is presently working to design a possible future mission to Titan: an unpiloted airplane, making involvement with the RSESTeP airplane particularly appropriate.  Read more at: http://barnesos.net/pro .

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