Well we're back from the Scablands now, and it was awesome. We took measurements of basalt columns and striae at three different sites in Washington, and stopped at dozens more places to learn about the geology/morphology that shaped the land. Besides this, we climbed rocks, waded in lakes, feasted beside great coulees, and dangled at edges of precipices. We drove past amazing rolling hillsides and leapt down sand dunes. The views were astounding. The activities exhilarating. The memories everlasting.
I could not have imagined a better trip to learn from while at the same time having fun. Our trip was one for the books.
"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.