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Geology of the Columbia Basin

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The Columbia Basin is the northern basin of the Columbia Plateau, and is separated from the Snake River Plains by the Blue Mountains uplift. The Columbia Plateau is a geologically exciting area where gigantic geologic processes are displayed. Within the last 10 million years great basalt outpourings have covered an area of about 150,000 square miles with basalt flows up to 10,000 feet in depth. An estimated 100,000 cubic miles of molten lava has thus poured to the surface from deep in the earth beneath the Columbia Plateau. Within the last million years, multiple ice-age floods have raged across the Columbia Basin, sculpting the surface into spectacular physiographic forms which testify to the power of running water. The greatest of these was the largest flood ever documented.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Chairman of the Department of Geology, Wasington State University, Pullman

Publication date: 1980-09-01

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