February 21, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 44

Cheney-Spokane Ice Age Floods Institute lecture and field trip coming

The Ice Age Floods Institute, Cheney-Spokane Chapter, is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that is committed to the recognition and presentation of the Ice Age Floods as a significant part of the nation’s, and world’s natural heritage. The IAFI Cheney-Spokane Chapter was established in 2003 and includes among its members many amateur and professional geologists, as well as members with interests or careers in other natural sciences and fields such as education, agriculture, outdoor recreation and community development. For more information, visit www.iceagefloodsewa.org.

The Ice Age Floods Institute, Cheney-Spokane Chapter is co-sponsoring a free public lecture with the Eastern Washington University Department of Geology, Thursday, March 7, “Geology of the Cheney-Palouse Falls Fracture Zones,” 7 p.m. in room 137 of the Science Building on Eastern’s Cheney campus. EWU geology professor Chad Pritchard will discuss fracture zones in the Columbia River basalts that have been recognized on geologic and topographic maps for the last century, yet little descriptions or analysis are present in the geologic literature.

Glacial outburst floods during the last Ice Age preferentially plucked out fractured material and exposed the fracture zones resulting in unique lake forms and river channels. If fractures extend to the underlying basement they may also act as hydraulic conduits for infiltration to aquifers as well as mixing of aquifers between basalt flows.

The lecture helps dovetail into the Institute’s annual spring field trip and hike through the Lower Palouse Canyon to Palouse Falls. The field trip takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 9, traveling to Lyons Ferry Fish Hatchery near Washtucna and then to Palouse Falls. This year’s leaders will be Lloyd Stoess and Gene Kiver.

The hike includes geomorphology, geology, botany, zoology, Ice Age Floods and early Indian history. The flavor of the hike is dependent on the shared knowledge of those participating. 

The hike follows a combination of established trails, game trails and bushwhacking. There are also some steep ascents and descents but no special equipment or training are required. The distance of the hike is eight miles. Vans will take hikers back to the Fish Hatchery at the close of the hike.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult, this hike rates a 10. A hiker should be in good physical shape (i.e., be able to hike three miles without breaks). It is suggested that participants do some up and downhill hiking prior to the field trip. A hiker should not have serious heart or vertigo problems. 

Registration fees are $20 for IAFI members, $30 for non-members, and $15 for student and teachers. Detailed information, registration form and liability release form are available at www.iceagefloodsewa.org, Calendar Tab. 

For registration questions, contact hike registrar, Jean Bruntlett at jeanbruntlett@centurytel.net or call 509.235.2568. 

For more information on the lecture contact Melanie Bell at iaficheneyspokane@gmail.com or 509-954-4242.

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