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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Holocene Extinctions and Missoula Flood

Holocene Extinctions and Missoula Flood

E.P. Grondine wrote:

“I see from today's news that many people are still confused 
by the extinctions caused by the Holocene Start Impacts. Its 
really pretty easy, as Elephants need 450 pounds of food a day.”

Perhaps the following will explain it better.  Good hunting, all - 
E.P. Grondine, Man and Impact in the Americas”


Several posters here are interested in Harlan Bretz and the 
spread of his catastrophist hypothesis for the formation of 
the Washington scablands. Currently, while all geologists
agree that the scablands were formed by catastrophic flooding, 
there is debate over whether they were caused by the 
release of one or multiple lakes and exactly when the 
flooding(s) occurred.”

The above debate, which mentioned above, is imaginary
in nature. First, the age of the latest Missouri Flood is 
well established by both radiocarbon dates and well-dated 
volcanic ash beds from Mt. St. Helens. Wood fragment from
the lower-middle part of the Missoula Flood deposits in 
Sanpoil Valley yielded a radiocarbon date of 14,490 14Cyr
B.P. A 14,000 year old volcanic “set-S” ash from Mount St. 
Helens overlies at least 28 giant-flood rhythmites and 
underlies eleven giant-flood rhythmites in southern 
Washington. Organic matter recovered from within and 
below the Missoula flood deposits in the Columbia Gorge 
yielded three dates between 15,000 and 13,700 14Cyr B.P. 
These and other dates clearly indicate that catastrophic 
flooding occurred at multiple times during a period of time 
between 15,700–13,500 14Cyr B.P. (Booth et al. 2004). 

The Missoula Flood clearly predate and are, thus, unrelated 
to any hypothetical terminal Pleistocene or Holocene impact 
event. As noted above, the Missoula Flood  deposits are 
thousands of years too old to be associated with such an 
impact. In addition, the detailed study of sedimentology of the
flood deposits demonstrates that the catastrophic flooding 
from glacial Lake Missoula occurred every few decades to 
years. This is comparable to the frequency in glacier-outburst 
floods (jokulhlaups) associated with modern Icelandic glaciers 
(Booth et al. 2004). The occurrence of multiple catastrophic 
Missoula Flood events over a period of approximately 2,000 
years definitely refutes any notion that the Missoula Flood 
is associated with a single impact event of any age. A single 
impact would only have created a single catastrophic flood. It 
would have been quite impossible for a single impact of any 
age to have created multiple flood events over a 2,000 year 
period of time as has been well documented in the published

References Cited

Booth, D. B., K. G. Troost, J. J. Clague, and R. B. Waitt, 2004, 
The Cordilleran Ice Sheet. in A. Gillespie, S. C. , Porter, and B. 
Atwater, eds., pp. 17-24, The Quaternary Period in the United 
States: International Union for Quaternary Research, Elsevier 
Press, New York.

Also, go see:

O'Conner, J., and R. Waitt, 1994, Beyond the Channeled 
Scabland: A field trip· to look at Missoula Flood Features in 
the Columbia, Yakima and Walla Walli valleys of Washington 
and Oregon. Friends of the Pleistocene 1st Pacific Northwest 
Cell Meeting May 13-15, 1994. U.S. Geological Survey, 
Vancouver, Washington.

E.P. Grondine also stated:

“Of course, as oil companies have for years been drilling cores 
off the coast of Washington, those questions could be readily 
answered, except that those cores are proprietary.”

Oil company cores will likely tell use nothing about the Missoula 
Flood as the deposits that would contain deposits from the Missoula 
Flood are too young to be of any interest to them. They would simply 
drilled through such surficial sediments any only start coring once 
they got to the oil-bearing strata. In addition, petroleum seismic is 
not designed to image shallow strata, which are of no interest to oil

However, research by marine geologists using cores and seismic data 
have identified and mapped thick turbidite deposits consisting of material 
from the Missoula Flood that was flushed down the Astoria Fan on the 
Oregon continental margin. The vast majority of this research, including 
cores,  is not proprietary. This research is discussed in a number of 
published papers, including:

Brunner, C. A., W. R. Normark, G. G. Zuffa, and F. Serra, 1999,
Deep-sea sedimentary record of the late Wisconsin 
cataclysmic floods from the Columbia River. Geology. vol. 27, 
no. 5, pp. 463-466.

Normark, W. R., and J. A. Reid, 2003, Extensive Deposits 
on the Pacific Plate from Late Pleistocene North American 
Glacial Lake Outbursts. The Journal of Geology. vol. 111, 
no. 6, pp. 617-637.

Zuffa, G. G., W. R. Normark, F. Serra, and C. A. Brunner, 2000,
The Journal of Geology. vol. 108, no. 3, pp. 253-274.

This research also demonstrates that the Missoula Floods are far too 
old to be associated with any hypothetical terminal Pleistocene or 
Holocene impact.


Paul H.

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