Calcrete Field Trip 2021 - Overview

Geology Field Guide to the Rain Shadow Calcretes near Othello, WA

Northwest Geological Society


September 17-19, 2021


Skye W. Cooley
, Geologist



skyecooley @ gmail.com


Mission Valley, MT


Abstract This field guide explores calcretes and calcic paleosols formed in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range near Othello, WA. Pedogenic calcretes are relict CaCO3-rich hardpan subsoils that developed here, in a semi-arid climate and a geomorphically stable landscape, during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Newly described stratigraphic sections at Paradise Flats, Crab Creek, Saddle Mountains, and White Bluffs document stacked calcretes that formed in upper Ringold Fm sediments (Pliocene), alluvial fan deposits (Pliocene and Pleistocene), Palouse loess (Pleistocene), ancestral Columbia River alluvium (late Pleistocene), and early megaflood deposits (Pleistocene). The aridity necessary to precipitate soil CaCO3 arrived no earlier than the late Miocene (after 7 Ma) and intensified during interglacials of the Pleistocene. The presence of calcrete marks the rise of the Cascades which formed a high-elevation divide that blocked moisture-laden Pacific storms from tracking inland. The timing of uplift in the Cascades of Washington has been constrained by others as between 15-5 Ma by various chronometric methods, but the field evidence (calcic paleosols and cements) suggests topographic growth lagged significantly behind rock uplift, which those studies measured. The uplift appears to have exhumed considerable volumes of rock, yet remained low in elevation for most of it's life. A high divide (pass elevations of >1000 m) formed remarkably late - some 35 million years after the onset of plate convergence, subduction-related volcanism, and compressional uplift. The "rain shadow" calcretes record the geological moment when climate in eastern and western Washington diverged, and highlight one of Geomorphology's classic themes: the interplay of tectonics, topography, and climate.


** Some of the text, photos, figures were not part of the hardcopy field guide handed out to trip participants. **



The map is cool. Sorry about the face.

Photo by Michael Machette at White Bluffs Overlook.

Seamless hillshade map by Ralph Haugerud. Digital file provided to me by Jim O'Connor.



WC = Warden Canal, LR = Liesle Rd, LCF = Lind Coulee Fault, SG = Stokrose Gravel, HRC = Herman Railcut, RTH = Red Tank Hike, TP = Taunton Powerhouse, OFF = Offramp, BRC = Booker Rd at Canal, HL = Hatton Rd-Lemaster Rd Intersection, CR = Coyan Rd, HX = Hendricks Rd, WBO = White Bluffs Overlook


Field trip stops. Black circles are stops described in the field guide, most of which we plan to visit. Open circles are other sites I've described. Black squares are the sites of others. Our September 2021 trip did not visit Lind Coulee Fault or Red Tank due to time constraints. Originally, I planned a trip focused on the crest of the Saddle Mountains, which explains why the map appears shifted.


Time gap. The earliest evidence of glaciation in western Washington is the Orting Drift at ~1.8 Ma. The oldest dated loess in eastern Washington is 1.15 Ma. Confident age control on strata spanning the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary is missing. The best age data loosely constrains calcretes between 45,000-670,000 (Staisch et al., 2018) and may suffer from open-system behavior, inherent in some carbonate paleools.The so-called "Plio-Pleistocene unit" covers this ~1.4 million year period of active tectonism, sedimentation, climate change, and calcic soil development, but has not been subjected to detailed examination. Figure incorporates info from several others, hopefully clearly.


Timeline compilation. I've compiled information constraining the timing of Cascade Range uplift and arrival of a rain shadow in Eastern Washington from 40+ sources. The gray band brackets black bars, which are unconformities or other firm sidebars on rock uplift, topographic rise, and arrival of a dryland climate east of the divide. Older studies tend to push the date back, while newer studies argue for a younger rise. Compilation is not exhaustive. A few errors in this figure need fixing.



Calcrete-armored paleosurface. Stops in this field guide highlight sedimentary evidence of a relict Plio-Pleistocene landscape. Stacked calcretes, calcrete gravels, alluvial fan-loess complexes, and cemented silt diamicts delineate a dissected and deformed paleosurface located at the transition between the flood-dominated Channeled Scabland, loess-dominated Palouse Slope, and alluvial fan-dominated Yakima Fold Belt. The paleosurface may extend southwest to Eureka Flat and northern Walla Walla Valley (i.e, Rulo site), but we lose the calcrete as moisture and elevation increases. White circles are my study sites, a selection of which are in this field guide. Black circles are sites in Baker et al., (2001), Bjornstad et al. (2001), Medley (2012), Bader et al. (2016), or unpublished locations from my field notes. Bold white line loosely delineates Pasco Basin, the colloquial name for the local portion of a once larger synclinal trough that was segmented by N-S and E-W faults and folds (see Eric Cheney's eggcrate model in Cheney, 2016).


BB = South Bombing Range Rd, BR = Booker Road at Canal, RR = Site 21-04, C = Connell, CB = Cummins Bridge, CCB = Cold Creek Bar, CR = Coyan Rd, EC = East Connell, FMEF = Fuels Materials and Examination Facility, FR = Field Rd, GL = George Landfill, GWB = Ringold Rd Bluffs, HL = Hatton-Lemaster Intersection, HO = Houghton Rd, HRC = Herman Railcut, HX = Hendricks Rd, LCF = Lind Coulee Fault, LF = Liesle Rd, LR = Lind Rd, LS = Leslie Rd, OFF = Offramp, OMC = Old Maid Coulee, PP = Potholes Park, PH = Poplar Heights Rd, RC = Reese Coulee, RT = Red Tank Hike, RULO = Rulo Site, Overlook, SB = Smyrna Bench, SP = Stokrose Pit, SR = Scooteney Rd, SS = Silicard Site, TPS = Taunton Power Station, WBO = White Bluffs Overlook, WC = Warden Canal, YB = Yakima Bluffs.



Above or Below. Stratigraphic exposure with respect to the calcrete-bearing zone. Sections entirely above are in Pleistocene Palouse loess and/or Missoula flood deposits. Sections entirely below are in Pliocene Ringold Fm.


Extent of the Ringold. The Ringold Fm (gray area) extends beyond the topographic rim of the modern Pasco Basin. That is, the depositional trough which Ringold sediments filled was once much larger (not just Pasco Basin). The Ringold represents a broad, low-relief fluvial floodplain of throughgoing rivers including the northerly-sourced ancestral Columbia River and easterly-sourced Snake-Salmon-Clearwater system. The wide floodplain-confluence was coursed by numerous shallow, sluggish side channels with low-lying dry areas between that accumulated dust and upland soils. Coarse alluvial fan gravels spilled from adjacent basalt highs interfinger with basinal sediments. Several lakes filled and spilled during Ringold time. The formerly more-contiguous basin is now dissected by the both east-west Yakima Folds and a set of subtle north-south folds. The Ringold consists of several units including a basal unit, a lower unit, a middle unit, and an upper unit. Be careful when reading about the Ringold. Most of what is written was authored by Hanford Site staff, who mainly describe borehole cuttings from the central Pasco Basin. Their task is managing leaked waste, not traditional geology as understood by geoscientists outside Hanford. The PNL/Rockwell/Westinghouse/Hanford gray lit is copius, but its the consultant reports and articles by visiting academics that matter. Two things to realize: First, Hanford geologists do applied work and lump/name units based primarily on their local hydrological characteristics (not formation criteria). Second, if you want to see Hanford's geology, you have to leave Hanford as there are few outcrops there. Hanford staffers understand Hanford's geology primarily through borehole information (logs of variable quality, tedius work), geophysics, monitoring wells, and visits to exposures at the White Bluffs. White Bluffs is located miles from the industrial-scale cleanup areas.


Cascade divide and eastern Washington soils. Topographic rise of the Cascade Range over the past 40 million years involved compressional uplift (rock uplift, relatively constant) and erosional stripping (denudation, temporally and spatially variable). Paleosols and other lines of evidence indicate the high topographic divide formed and began to cast a rain shadow east during the Pliocene, separating the state into two climate zones. The growth of soil carbonates began after.


A.) Low topographic divide poses no barrier to wet, maritime weather systems moving inland. Late Miocene.


B.) Discontinuous divide with low passes and/or deep, cross-range valleys, creates only a partial orographic barrier. Late Pliocene.


C.) High, continuous divide creates a strong weather barrier and casts a rain shadow east. Precipitation and erosion on east and west sides of the range are shown in the right panel. Arrows indicate erosion intensity in the late Miocene, somewhat asymmetric erosion during the Pliocene, and strongly asymmetric erosion from early Pleistocene to present.



Caliche vs. Calcrete - Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that accumulates in subsoils (soil B-horizons) is known as caliche or, where thick and dense, calcrete. "Calcrete", a term coined by Lamplugh (1902), first described lime-cemented gravels in Ireland (Lamplugh, 1902). "Caliche", coined by Blake (1902), described calcareous hardpan desert soils in the southwest United States. Today, we working in Eastern Washington recognize caliche as the thinner, less mature form of calcrete, and distinguished one from the other by carbonate stage. Others suggest the term "caliche" be abandoned altogether and "calcrete" be used exclusively.



Sources of CaCO3 - Two sources for CaCO3 (calcite) exist for aridland soils. Limestone bedrock contributes primary detrital material to soils (Ex: New Mexico or Saudi Arabia). In areas without limestone bedrock (Ex: eastern Washington), secondary carbonates (or pedogenic carbonates) are supplied by wind-deposited dust and CO2. Secondary soil carbonates are products of dissolution-migration-evapotranspiration-precipitation activity in the soil profiles. CaCO3 is concentrated by soil processes and forms distinctive B-horizons (subsoils). Pedogenic carbonates worldwide are almost exclusively found in dusty, arid to semi-arid regions on geomorphically-stable, upland surfaces. Constituents and sources for pedogenic carbonates are:


Calcium - Ca2+ ions provided by rainwater, dissolution of Ca-bearing minerals, and dust



Carbon - CO2 generated by plant roots, microbial respiration in rooting zone, rainwater



Oxygen - Oxygen in the form of soil water (H2O) supplied by precipitation



Silica - Silica supplied by Cascades volcanic ash, a ubiquitous component of Palouse loess



CaCO3 Accumulation in Soils - Carbonate accumulation in soils is the result of pore water movement (down, up, or sideways), evapotranspiration, degassing of CO2 by plant roots and microbes, grainsize, landscape position, and other factors. Infiltration of slightly acidic meteoric water from rain and snow melt dissolves carbonate at the surface and transports it downward (leaching). Evapotranspiration by plants and capillary action dries the soil by transporting moisture back to the atmosphere, leaving precipitated CaCO3 behind. CO2 degassing from roots and microbes supersaturates the rooting zone with respect to CaCO3, also causing carbonate to precipitate. Precipitation is likely highest during the growing season. Strong summer-winter precipitation seasonality and sparse vegetation favor calcic subsoils. Low annual rainfall means the soil column is never fully flushed, as is common in wet regions. Carbonate concentrations commonly occur 15-50 cm below the ground surface (Bestland and Retallack, 1993; Retallack, 1994), forming a Bk horizon. Calcic subsoils can build to form restrictive hardpan layers - first caliche then calcrete - and limit further infiltration, causing soil water to pond and migrate laterally, resulting in platy cemented calcretes and silcretes. Thus, pedogenic carbonates are products of biotic and abiotic processes, consistent with the interplay of soil forming factors: Parent Material, Time, Climate, Relief, Organisms.


Calcium carbonate accumulates in subsoils via dissolution-precipitation reactions that run either way.


Accumulation / Calcification Removal / Decalcification


Ca2+ + 2HCO3- <--> CaCO3 + H2O + CO2


Dissolution of calcite is encouraged by a.) more meteoric water flushing through soil, b.) lower pH (acidity), c.) increase in pCO2 gas by roots, and d.) decrease in Ca2+ concentration (related to amount of soil water). Reaction is driven to the left. Precipitation of calcite is encouraged by a.) moisture loss through evapotranspiration, b.) higher pH (alkalinity), c.) decrease in CO2 gas (lower pCO2), and d.) saturation of Ca2+. Reaction is driven to the right. Eluviation (E = exit) is the removal of dissolved CaCO3 from upper portions of the soil profile, while illuviation is the precipitation (recrystallization) of CaCO3 lower down, if conditions are favorable (e.g., soil solution is saturated with respect to CaCO3).


The calcite dissolution-precipitation reaction is: Ca2+ + H2O + CO2 = CaCO3 + 2H+


Increasing the amount of CO2 gas in soil increases the partial pressure of CO2 and causes calcite to dissolve, making it mobile again: CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O = Ca2+ + 2HCO3-



Does More or Less Rainfall Make Thicker Calcrete? - Thick calcretes are often attributed to hyper-arid conditions (i.e., drier deserts have thicker petrocalcic horizons). We don't know exactly the seasonality/timing of precipitation in eastern Washington during the Pliocene to Pleistocene transition. However, sediments, paleosols, pollen, and fossils tell us that the Pasco Basin climate was possibly a more intense version of what we experience today with altered timing of rainfall events. Back then warm, highly-evaporative, dusty summers alternated with cold, fairly dry winters. Most of the annual moisture probably arrived during shoulder seasons. The landscape was a cool, sagebrush steppe. The rain shadow calcretes appear to indicate long periods of drying between brief, soaking rainstorms. Their considerable thickness may not signify a hotter, drier desert (hyper-arid), rather it may indicate soils received more water certain months via short, heavy downpours that liberated more carbonate and moved it into the soil column. Long periods without rain resulted in the deep drying of the soil column and precipitation of CaCO3. Also, its likely shallow groundwater contributed moisture.



Growth Rate of Calcrete - Soil carbonate builds at variable rates. Several studies suggest that 10,000 to 1,000,000 years are required for a thoroughly-cemented carbonate hardpan several centimeters thick to fully form (Arkley, 1963; Machette, 1985; Lal and Kimble, 2000). An estimated rate for the growth of carbonate coatings on clasts in Idaho is 0.6 mm/10 kyr (Vincent et al., 1994). Others have characterized calcrete growth in terms of thickness, estimating an accumulation rate of 0.03-0.80 mm/year. By this estimate, a 100 cm-thick calcrete would form in 1,250 to 33,300 years.



Dates on Caliche and Calcrete in Pasco Basin - Systematic dating of caliche and calcrete across eastern Washington has not been done, but some age data has been published. Paces (2014) applied uranium-thorium techniques to carbonate-silica rinds on cobbles and cemented fault gouge collected near Richland, WA. Minimum ages fell between 17 ka (caliche) and >500 ka (calcrete, cemented gouge), consistent with Late Pleistocene cataclysmic flooding and Middle Pleistocene alluvial fan growth. The Th230/U234 technique, typically used on materials which build concentric layers such as teeth or stalagmites, has an upper limit of reliability of 350 kyr or slightly more (Ku, 1976), an age exceed by some samples. Authors make clear their study, part of a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment of the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site, was not systematic through the entire calcrete-bearing section and "was not designed to address the history of pedogenesis or climate change". Dates helped to constrain Quaternary deformation rates in the Yakima Fold Thrust Belt. The Paces study is consistent with 100-700 ka soil carbonates sampled elsewhere in Pasco Basin (Bjornstad et al., 2001; Staisch et al., 2017). Staisch et al (2017) ages range between ~45,000 to 670,000.


Ages at Smyrna Bench. U-series dating of caclrete-bearing sediments atop basalt by Staisch et al (2018) indicates rainshadow conditions and dryland soils in the Othello-Saddle Mountains area are younger than ~7 Ma with most ages clustered between ~400-100 ka (inset chart). The field evidence (calcrete morphology) suggests the clustered dates are too young. Open system problems associated with calcite are suspected.



Limits on Calcrete Distribution - Though extensive in Pasco Basin, calcretes are not found everywhere in eastern Washington. Factors that retard calcrete growth include 1.) rapid sedimentation, 2.) erosion, 3.) high rainfall. Continuous sedimentation suppresses horizonation in soils. Soil processes beneath a newly-buried surface are reset to the new surface. Erosion lowers the ground surface by stripping material and resets the soil development to a lower position. Rainfall, specifically Mean Annual Precipitation above about 700 mm/year (28 in/yr), effectively flushes CaCO3 from soil profiles. Calcic soil units are therefor restricted to basin centers and low flanks of the Cascades, Blue Mountains, and Okanogan Highlands. Few calcretes occur in loess soils of the Palouse, where windblown sedimentation rates have been his, if variable, for over millennia. There, formation of thin caliche horizons is most common (Thatuna, Oliphant, Santa Series soils). In the Pasco Basin, thick calcretes are higher aridity, sparser vegetation cover, and a pulsed sediment regime. Loess layers grow more slowly and growth of thicker calcic horizons is possible. Calcretes appear to achieve fuller expression in the drier, barren Pasco Basin than on the wetter, dust-trapping, vegetated Palouse.



Calcretes Associated with Regional Unconformities - In the western U.S., calcic paleosols are associated with unconformities. Soil growth occurred during periods of land surface stability between tectonic upheavals. Prominent unconformities between packages of terrestrial rocks define "synthems" (Wheeler and Mallory, 1970; Cheney, 2016). The post-Ringold unconformity is the bounding surface between Walpapi Synthem rocks (20-4 Ma, pronounced WALL-puh-pie) and High Cascades Synthem rocks (4 Ma-present, pronounced kass-KAYDS). The ages of sequence-bounding unconformities in WA, OR, and MT cluster at ~30 Ma, ~20 Ma, and ~4 Ma (Hanneman et al., 2003). The ~4 Ma unconformity is conspicuous in south-central Washington, separating Pliocene basin-fill deposits from Ice Age flood deposits and associated sediments.



Ancient Scabland Flooding - Scabland surfaces, bedrock coulees, streamlined hills, perched erratics, divide crossings, weak soils, enormous gravel bars, MSH tephras, slackwater rhythmites, varved-and-sand bed sections, and major freshwater influxes into the Pacific constitute an indisputable record of late Pleistocene megaflooding (e.g., the Missoula floods, 18-14 ka).


Other more subtle lines of evidence argue for a pre-Missoula flood record, often called the "ancient" or "pre-late Wisconsin" record. These include deeply weathered clasts, petrocalcic horizons and other developed paleosols, erosional surfaces in Palouse loess, and anomalous high energy deposits that pre-date late Pleistocene deposits (Bretz, 1956; Richmond et al., 1965; Baker, 1973; Baker and Nummedal (1978); Patton & Baker, 1978; Rigby, 1982; McDonald & Busacca, 1988; Busacca, 1989; Baker et al. 1991; Kiver et al., 1991; Bjornstad et al., 2001; Spencer and Jaffee, 2002; Pluhar et al., 2006; McDonald et al. 2012; Medley, 2012; Bader et al., 2016). Discoveries made at 14 sites more than 50 years ago including Marengo, Old Maid Coulee, Revere, McCall, Ritzville, and George established a partial framework for the older flood argument (see summary in Baker et al., 2016). Supporters often lament the paucity of preserved field evidence for the ancient old floods, removed or buried by the younger floods.


Some go so far as to suggest Ice Age flooding in Washington began 2.0-2.5 Ma with the first glacial advance in North America (i.e., Smiley et al., 1991), but a tempered view of the literature, the field evidence, and the various caveats supports a first-flood arrival around 1.5 Ma. Below I briefly summarize often-referenced articles that present evidence for ancient flooding.


Patton and Baker (1978) - A flood gravel capped by three loess units each with its own paleosol and lying beneath Missoula flood deposits at Marengo was correlated with strata at Revere, Macall, and Old Maid Coulee. The gravel was interpreted to be pre-late Wisconsin in age. Similar to Baker and Nummedal (1978).


Baker et al. (1991) - Sites described included Kiona Quarry, Leslie Road, Macall, Marengo, Old Maid Coulee, Yakima Bluffs Poplar Heights, South Bombing Range Road, FMEF, Cummings Bridge, Revere, and Washtucna.


Bjornstad et al. (2001) - Compilation of radiometric age data on flood deposits sampled from boreholes and outcrops. Sites included Kiona Quarry, Leslie Road, Macall, Marengo, Old Maid Coulee, and Yakima Bluffs.

McDonald et al. (2012) - This article is a culmination of work that began with McDonald and Busacca (1988) establishing links between glacial outburst floods and Palouse loess. The authors use several lines of evidence collected from various sites to argue for the presence of a pre-late Wisconsin flood record there. One representative site is Winona, WA, where a 38m-deep core was collected in 1996 (WIG-1). The core contained a stack of ~20 calcic paleosols developed in loess deposited atop basalt. Magnetic polarity in the upper 28m of core was normal, but reverse in the lower 10m. The polarity change was correlated to the Matuyama-Brunhes boundary at 780 ka making the age of early Palouse loess, therefore Ice Age flood deposits from which it was derived, at least 1 million years old.


Pluhar et al. (2006) - Borehole samples of flood deposits at the Hanford Site exhibit a pattern of normal and reversed polarity signatures that can be correlated to the published polarity timescale. The authors argue the sediments of eastern Cold Creek Bar are pre-late Wisconsin flood deposits laid down between 1.07 Ma and 780 ka, between the Jaramillo subchron and the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal.


Medley (2012) - The author revisited 14 previously documented sites with ancient flood deposits and reports 11 new ones. Previously visited sites were those of Baker and Nummedal (1978), Patton and Baker (1978), Busacca et al.(1989), Baker et al. (1991), Kiver et al. (1991), Fecht et al. (1999), Bjornstad et al. (2001), Spencer and Jaffee (2002), Bjornstad (2006), Cordero (1997), and Gastineau (2011). No sites were described in detail as the focus of the project was primarily a region-wide sampling effort. She measured CaCO3 content using a Chittick apparatus (Dreimanis, 1962; Machette, 1985) and determined carbonate Stage for each sampled horizon following the criteria of Gile et al. (1981) and Birkeland (1999). Carbonate Stage of III or greater requires more than 15,000 years to develop, thus are older than the Missoula floods. Results of her Stage analyses:


Stage II (8 sites): Benge, Collier Coulee, Connell, East Callaway Rd, Leslie Rd, Palouse, Potholes Coulee, Rulo.


Stage II+ (5 sites): Benge, Brown Rd, Connell, Leslie Rd, Reese Coulee.


Stage III (14 sites): Canal Outcrop, East Callaway Rd, East Connell, Frenchmen Coulee, Macall, Othello Canal, Poplar Heights, Potholes Coulee, Reese Coulee, Ritzville, Rulo, The Dalles, Winans Rd 1, Yakima Bluffs.


Stage III+ (1 site): Othello Canal, with 35.0-49.9% CaCO3, is the same site as Offramp in this field guide.



Bader et al. (2016) - The Rulo site exposes a 30m-thick section of loess, exotic clast-bearing diamicts, a fluvial sandstone, tephras including Newbury, more than a dozen paleosols, and numerous Irvingtonian vertebrate fossils. Five unconformity-bound sequences and truncated clastic dikes provide additional evidence for pre-Wisconsin loess accumulation and glacial outburst flooding in northern Walla Walla Valley. The section is normal polarity except for a micaceous, fossiliferous fluvial sandstone at the base of the exposure with reversed polarity. This work built on Spencer and Gilk (1999), Spencer and Jaffee (2002), and Gastineau (2011).


Some remain unconvinced by field evidence and arguments in favor of ancient flooding in eastern Washington. Detractors attribute the exotic-bearing gravels, silt diamicts, thick loess, deeply weathered paleosols, overly deep bedrock canyons, partially-filled coulees, reverse-polarity signatures, and lithified clastic dikes to more pedestrian processes operating in the pre-megaflood landscape, namely alluvial action of local streams. While the skeptics' arguments do have legitimacy, a growing body of geologic and pedologic evidence for ancient flooding is accumulating, some of which is in this field guide. The ancient record is subtle geology. Spencer and Jaffee (2002) call it the "indirect record". A collection of sediments and soils that can appear very different from the bombastic landforms and deposits associated with the Missoula-cycle floods*.


The map below shows locations exposing parts of the "ancient" flood record. Sites are found in the Columbia Valley and across the Channeled Scabland, which suggests early glacial floods followed both overland and canyon routes to Wallula Gap.


- What was the early configuration of the Okanogan Lobe?

- Which older flood routes are obscured by younger loess and local tectonism?

- What similarities exist between sites north of the Snake River canyon (i.e., Marengo, Washtucna) and those to the south of it (i.e., Rulo, Reese)?

- Are silt diamicts a thing?

- Do sediments record the advance of glacial ice (the cutting off of the Columbia River) as well as its retreat?

- What would an ice-advance signal look like in the stratigraphy?

- How old are eastern Washington's canyons and scablands?


Ancient flood sites. The map shows a few of the more well known outcrops from the literature (yellow). Sites in blue are new locations I have discovered and described. Most contain calcrete-overprinted flood gravels. Some are located outside the floodway and contain alluvial fan gravels, old loess, upper Ringold Fm, and the same thick calcretes. My "Offramp" site is Medley's "Othello Canal" site. The "Lind Coulee Fault" site was trenched by M.W. West, but I've not seen those reports. "Cold Ck Bar" is a subsurface site.


* The Missoula floods are known to some as the "Thesaurus floods" (i.e., monstrous, colossal, stupendous, cataclysmic, catastrophic, etc.)



References (Draft 1)


Alonso-Zarza, A.M.; Tanner, L.H., 2010, Carbonates in Continental Settings: Geochemistry, Diagenesis and Applications, Alonso-Zarza, A.M.; Tanner, L.H. (editors), v. 62, p. 1-319


Arkley, R.J., 1963, Calculation of carbonate and water movement in soil from climatic data, Soil Science, v. 96, p. 239-248


Armstrong, R.L.; Leeman, W.P.; Malde, H.E., 1975, K-Ar dating quaternary and Neogene volcanic rocks of the Snake River Plain, Idaho, American Journal of Sciences, v. 275


Bader, N.; Spencer, P.K.; Bailey, A.M.; Gastineau, K.R.; Tinkler, E.; Pluhar, C.N.; Bjornstad, B., 2016, A loess record of pre-Late Wisconsin glacial outburst flooding, Pleistocene paleoenvironment, and Irvingtonian fauna from the Rulo site, southeastern Washington, USA, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. v. 462


Baker, V.R., 1973, Paleohydrology and sedimentology of Lake Missoula flooding in eastern Washington, Geological Society of America Special Paper144


Baker, V.R.; Bjornstad, B.N.; Busacca, A.J.; Fecht, K.R.; Kiver, E.P.; Moody, U.L.; Tallman, A.M., 1991, Quaternary geology of the Columbia Plateau in Geology of North America: Quaternary nonglacial geology: Conterminous U.S., Geological Society of America, v. 2, p. 215-250


Baker, V.R.; Bjornstad, B.N.; Gaylord, D.R.; Smith, G.A.; Meyer, S.E.; Alho, P.; Breckenridge, R.M.; Sweeney, M.R.; Zreda, M., 2016, Pleistocene megaflood landscapes of the Channeled Scabland, Geological Society of America Field Guide, v. 41, p. 1-74


Barry, T.L.; Kelley, S.P.; Reidel, S.P.; Camp, V.E.; Self, S.; Jarboe, N.A.; Duncan, R.A.; Renne, P.R.; Ross, M.E.; Wolff, J.A.; Martin, B.S., 2013, Eruption chronology of the Columbia River Basalt Group, in Barry et al. (editors), The Columbia River Flood Basalt Province: Geological Society of America Special Paper, 497, pp. 45-66


Berger, G.W., 1991, The use of glass for dating volcanic ash by thermoluminescence, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, v. 96, p. 19705-19720


Bestland, E.A.; Retallack, G.J., 1993, Volcanically influenced calcareous palaeosols from the Miocene Kiahera Formation, Rusinga Island, Kenya, Journal of the Geological Society, v. 150, p. 293-310


Bjornstad, B.N., Fecht, K.R.; Tallman, A.M., 1990, Quaternary stratigraphy of the Pasco Basin area, south-central Washington, Rockwell International Report RHO-BW-SA-563A


Bjornstad, B.N., 2006, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: A geological field guide to the mid-Columbia Basin, Keokee Publishing, 307 pgs.


Bjornstad et al., 2010...


Bjornstad, B.N.; Fecht, K.R.; Pluhar, C.J., 2001, Long history of pre-Wisconsin, ice age cataclysmic floods: evidence from southeastern Washington state, Journal of Geology, v. 109, p. 695-713


Blake, W.P., 1902, The caliche of southern Arizona: An example of deposition, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineering Transactions, v. 31, p. 220-226


Bingham, 1970...


Birkeland, P.W., 1999, Soils and Geomorphology, Oxford University Press, 430 pgs.

Brandon, M.T.; Roden-Tice, M.K.; Garver, J.I., 1998, Late Cenozoic exhumation of the Cascadia accretionary wedge in the Olympic Mountains, northwest Washington State, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 110, p. 985-1009


Bretz, JH., 1923, The channeled scablands of the Columbia Plateau, Journal of Geology, v. 31, p. 617-649


Bretz, JH.; Smith, H.U.; Neff, G.E., 1956, Channeled Scabland of Washington: New data and interpretations, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 67, p. 957-1049


Bretz, J H., Horberg, L., 1949, Caliche in south-eastern New Mexico, Journal of Geology, v. 57, p. 491-511


Brown, D.J., 1959, Subsurface geology of the Hanford Separation areas, Richland, WA, General Electric Company Report, HW-61780, 21 pgs.


Brown, D.J., 1960, An introduction to the surface of the Ringold Formation beneath Hanford Works area: Richland, Washington, Hanford Atomic Products Operation Report, HW-62530, 12 pgs.


Brownfield, M.E., 2008, Cretaceous-Tertiary composite Total Petroleum System and geologic assessment of undiscovered gas resources of the Eastern Oregon and Washington Province, USGS Digital Data Series DDS–69–O, 43 pgs. + CD-ROM


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