(2010-11-15) - ISBN-13: 978-613-1-94121-4

The concepts of the simulation may seem cruel and cynical; individual questors inevitably die although they may achieve much before senescence and mortality take hold. The numbers used to represent various factors all come from my calculations in an attempt to render the simulation realistic.

Sophia Kujawski, sixth grade, William T. Rogers Middle School, Kings Park, “The Green Cupcake.”

O.E. Meinzer was obliged to confess that “the erosion features of the region are large and bizarre” but he, too, preferred a gradualist explanation: “Before a theory that requires a seemingly impossible quantity of water is fully accepted, every effort should be made to account for the existing features without employing so violent an assumption . . . I believe the existing features can be explained by assuming normal stream work of the ancient Columbia River . . .”…’

(2010-11-16) - ISBN-13: 978-613-2-00454-3

Educational Programs Brookhaven Lab Bldg. 438 P.O. Box 5000 Upton, NY 11973-5000

The first field trip Bretz made to the scabland of eastern Washington was in 1922. By this point, as a result of his earlier work, he was fully informed about the Ice Age in all its dimensions and more aware than most other geologists that immense ice sheets up to two miles deep, had covered North America for the best part of 100,000 years until the ice melted dramatically somewhere between 15,000 and 11,000 years ago. Thus when he saw huge numbers of erratics – giant boulders that didn’t belong naturally in the area but had clearly been brought in from elsewhere – he was inclined to assume that they might have travelled here in icebergs carried on some great glacial flood. This impression was strengthened when he explored Grand Coulee and Moses Coulee – gigantic channels gouged deeply in the earth – and visited the Quincy Basin at the southern end of Grand Coulee where he found the whole 600-square-mile depression filled up to a depth of 400 feet with small particles of basalt debris. He couldn’t help but wonder, “where had all the debris come from, and when?” Again the answer that presented itself to him was a flood.

(2010-11-18) - ISBN-13: 978-613-3-90991-5

“The geologists . . . were aghast in the same way that a roomful of physicists would be upon hearing a colleague explain how he had made a perpetual motion machine out of old popsicle sticks. Physicists had all learned very early of the futility of perpetual motion machines, and no properly educated geologist was supposed to traffic in catastrophes of any sort.’

(2010-11-19) - ISBN-13: 978-613-3-91542-8

Alt describes an old professor of his own undergraduate days who had been a student sitting in the audience when Bretz read his 1923 paper. It seems the professor did a hilarious impersonation of Bretz “pounding on the podium with both fists and stomping on the floor as he used vivid language and gestures to convey his idea of a catastrophic flood to his horrified audience.”

(2010-11-19) - ISBN-13: 978-3-8381-2161-1

“a sudden catastrophe to explain the Scablands of eastern Washington. In their view this was a reversion to the unscientific thinking of some 125 years before. To this day, most geologists consider it nothing less than heresy to invoke a catastrophic explanation for a geologic event. So Bretz stepped off the edge of a very long limb when he suggested that a great flood had eroded the Scablands . . . . [It made] him a pariah among geologists, an outcast from the politer precincts of society.”’

The channeled scablands and glacial lake Missoula

The outcast did not give up, however. On the contrary, he doggedly continued with his research, bringing down ever more controversy on his own head in the process but believing that the facts, ultimately, would vindicate him.