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Bretz's Flood: The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Geologist and the World's Greatest Floodby John Soennichsen
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Book News Annotation:
From the time it was first seen by non-Indians, a geologic explanation for eastern Washington's Channeled Scablands--a scoured landscape of dry waterfalls and channels--eluded scientists' best efforts. In this book, author Soennichsen introduces readers to geologist J. Harlen Bretz, and shows how his methodical fieldwork slowly revealed that the Scablands were created by water--lots of water--sweeping over the area in a series of massive prehistoric floods. Although Bretz's conclusions were rejected (and even ridiculed) by other geologists, his explanation for the Scablands was eventually vindicated by the advent of aerial photography. One of the best scientific whodunits of recent years, Soennichsen's account of Bretz's life and work will appeal to readers interested in geology and the Pacific Northwest. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Channeled Scablands, between Idaho and the Cascades, is a unique landscape of basalt cliffs, dry waterfalls, canyons, and coulees. Legendary geologist J Harlen Bretz was the first to explore the area, starting in the 1920s. This dramatic book tells the story of this scientific maverick — how he came to study the region, his radical theory that a flood of biblical proportions created it, and how a campaign by the mainstream geologic community tried to derail him for pursuing an idea that satellite photos would confirm decades later.
Conventional geologic thinking always said that the landscape between Idaho and the Cascade Mountains — a unique place characterized by gullies, coulees, and deserts — was created over millions of years by rivers that had long since gone dry. Science professor J Harlen Bretz (who made up his own name and intentionally didnt use a period after J), thought otherwise. Based on extensive research and keen observation, he believed this area had been scoured in a virtual instant by a massive flood. Because Bretz was a gadfly in the scientific community and his idea sounded like an attempt to prove the biblical flood, he was personally and professionally attacked and humiliated. Undaunted, he applied all of his skills to proving his thesis, but he would have to wait for confirmation until satellite photography became widespread years after his retirement. Bretz's Flood tells an exciting story of an epic mystery of the western landscape, how it came to be solved, and the fascinating scientist who did it.
About the Author
John Soennichsen is the author of Live! From Death Valley. He lives in Cheney, WA.
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