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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Bobbing Boulders

Bobbing Boulders

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, July 8, 2019/Categories: natural history, video, environment, adventure

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

Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes of how they were created. Whether mountain building or erosion, drifting continental plates, wind, or random events like earthquakes, floods or landslides these processes have produced all the landscapes on Earth. For an example of a geomorphological process, the Grand Coulee in Washington State was formed in the 'blink of an eye' in geologic time. According to geological studies, ~18,000 years ago a finger of the continental ice cap reached into what is now Idaho producing and blocked present-day Lake Pend O'reille. The ice dam cut off the Clark's Fork River creating a gigantic lake reaching 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 just 48 hours. A flood of that scale, equivalent to 10X the combined flow of all the rivers in the world, would have been powerful beyond imagination. Trillions of gallons of water released across the Pleistocene landscape cut the sharp canyons visible now.

A Swiss video recently captured the process still happening today when enough water, released in torrential rains or storms, fell on an unstable mountain slope. The 'bobbing boulders' are the size of semi-trucks and mini-vans in this flood.

"Geomorphology Rules", as they say!

WHB

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