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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Bobbing Boulders

Bobbing Boulders

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, January 21, 2020/Categories: natural history, video, environment, adventure

                                  Illhorn Mountain and Illgraben Valley, Switzerland (credit: Wikipedia)

Geomorphology studies landforms and the processes of how they were created. Whether mountain building or erosion, drifting continental plates, wind, or random events like earthquakes, floods, meteors, or landslides these processes have produced all the landscapes on Earth. An example of one such a geomorphological event, the Grand Coulee in Washington State was formed in the 'blink of an eye'. According to geological studies, ~18,000 years ago a finger of the continental ice cap reached into what is now Idaho producing and ice-dam that blocked a massive Pleistocene lake. The dam cut off a river creating a lake that reached far into western Montana. As the lake deepened, the ice dam began to float and leaks likely developed causing the dam to fail. The volume of water behind the dam broke releasing 500 cubic miles of water (1 cubic mile=1,101,117,147,352 gallons) stored in ancient Lake Missoula, in what may have been little more than 48 hours. A flood of that scale, equivalent to 10 times the combined flow of all the rivers in the world, would have been powerful beyond imagination. Trillions of gallons of water released across the ice age landscape cut the sharp canyons visible now.

A Swiss video captured the process still underway today when enough water, released by torrential rainstorms, fell on an unstable mountain slope. The 'bobbing boulders' are the size of semi-trucks or mini-vans in the resulting flood.

"Geomorphology Rules", as they say!



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