Floods and Flows: Exploring Mars Geology on Earth  July 13-19, 2008

Additional Resources

Web Sites

Background Information

The Ice Age Floods Institute is a non-profit organization of citizens throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon committed to tell the story of the flood origin to the Channeled Scablands.

National Park Service funded study "Ice Age Floods Study of Alternatives and Environmental Assessment" examines ways that public and private sector entities throughout the northwestern United States can work collaboratively to tell the story of the cataclysmic floods of the region.  Check out Chapter D, Background, for the geologic history of the region and the story of the debate over the great floods.

Glacial Lake Missoula and the Ice Age Floods, presented by the Montana Natural History Center, offers a virtual tour with imagery and a bit of explanatory text.

U.S. Geological Survey overview of the events and resulting features associated with Glacial Lake Missoula outbursts and the carving of the scablands.

Channeled Scablands: Overview
Field trip pages follow the floodwaters of Glacial Lake Missoula. Lots of pictures, some nice maps, a bit of text.

http://agg.pnl.gov/projects/birdseye.pdf (link not working)
Bjornstad, B.N., 2003, "Aftermath of the Ice Age floods: A bird’s-eye view," PNWD-SA-6210, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington.

Glacial Lake Missoula and the Missoula Floods
USGS web site, with information and links about Glacial Lake Missoula

Columbia Plateau - Columbia River Basalt Group
U.S. Geological Survey list of links to graphics, maps, background information, and more about the Columbia River Flood Basalts.

Field Trip to Mars - Just for Kids Site Map
Site leads students on a virtual field trip to Mars. The topics section highlights various geological features and supplemental material.

http://www.winepressnw.com/features/story/7906418p-7800039c.html (unable to locate the page)
How the Last Ice Age Shaped the Wine Industry in the Northwest … need we say more?  Another one can be found at AvalonWIne.com.

Classroom Resources and Activities

Obtaining the Modules
Mars Exploration Curriculum.  A series of classroom activity modules that help students to learn about the martian environment, examine the formation of features on Mars, and explore the possibility of water and great floods on the surface of Mars. 

The Great Martian Floods & The Pathfinder Landing Site can be found at this site. Note that some of the Pathfinder information is dated,
but the premise is solid.

Mars Educator Resources
Mars classroom resources from the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Information, activities, and presentations.

Explore! Mars – Inside and Out is a hands-on, standards based activity module from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in which children ages 8-13 examine the surface features of Mars and Earth and infer what they tell us about the interiors of the two planets.

Mystery of the MEGAFLOOD
Web site that accompanies the NOVA Mysteries of the Megaflood program. Images, interviews with scientists involved in research in the area, and a few classroom ideas.

Floods: Rising Waters and You. GREAT video clips about Glacial Lake Missoula floods. Activities examine water flow, floods, and the impact on humans.

Mars Student Imaging Project has student teams getting  involved in authentic Mars research. Students work  with scientists, mission planners and educators to  select sites and collect images with the  THEMIS  visible wavelength camera onboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Mars Quest Online
On this site you can launch an interactive spacecraft to Mars, explore its volcanoes and canyons, solve mysteries about the search for life on Mars and explore the latest rover images.

The Mars Millennium Project gives you the tools to make a village for 100 transplanted Earthlings on Mars in the year 2030. This official White House Millennium Council Initiative is an interdisciplinary learning project for students of grades K through 12.

Cake Batter Lava Activity
Students use cake batter to understand how different lavas flow and the structures that are created.

Gelatin Volcanos Activity
Jell-O is used to explore how lava flows in a volcano.

Making and Mapping a Volcano Activity
After having vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed.  In teams they examine the stratigraphy and map the flows.

Destination Mars
Hands-on activities for students to explore the environment of Mars. Activities in lesson 5, Searching for Life on Mars, help students explore the characteristics of living organisms and perform an experiment to determine if samples are alive or not, based on the criteria for “living.”

General Information

Mars Daily
This site contains the latest news and information pertaining to Mars along with other general space news.

JPL Photojournal
Provides images of Mars and its moons from the latest missions.

Sky & Telescope
Use Sky and Telescope’s community page to find astronomical clubs near you. Host a Mars viewing night!  Also, check out the store for Mars Globes.

Mars Phoenix Mission
Latest news from the Phoenix lander, including images and information.  Classroom materials are available in the Education section.

Mars Rovers
Still going!  News, images, video clips, and classroom connections.

Mars Missions
Links to the pages of past, present, and future missions.


Allen, John Eliot, and Marjorie Burns with Sam Sargent, 1986, Cataclysms on the Columbia, Timber Press, Portland, Ore.

Alt, David D., 2001, Glacial Lake Missoula and Its Humongous Floods, Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman. 1978, Roadside Geology of Oregon. Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman, 1984, Roadside Geology of Washington. Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman, 1986, Roadside Geology of Montana. Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman, 1989, Roadside Geology of Idaho. Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman, 1995, Northwest Exposures: A Geologic Story of the Northwest. Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont.

Bjornstad, Bruce N., 2006, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: A Geological Field Guide to the Mid Columbia Basin, Keokee Publishing Inc., Sandpoint, Idaho, 307p.

Mueller, M., and T. Mueller, 1997, Fire, Faults, & Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River Basin, University of Idaho Press, Moscow, Idaho.


Planetary Science Research Discoveries
Articles written for the interested and science-savvy layperson about recent findings in planetary science. Check out the archived Mars and Life on Mars articles.

Gould, Stephen Jay, 1978, “The Great Scablands Debate,” Natural History, v. 87, no. 7, p.12-18.

Lewis, Peter B., 2001, “Formative Years; How Torrential Ice Age Floods Shaped the Northwest,” Horizon Air, v. 12, no. 11, p.36-45.

Mullen, T., 2005, "The great Columbia flood," Columbia, Spring 2005, p. 40-44.

O’Connor, James E., 2004, "The Evolving Landscape of the Columbia River Gorge: Lewis and Clark and Cataclysms on the Columbia," Oregon Historical Quarterly, v. 105, no.3.

Ostertag, Rhonda and George, 2003, “Missoula’s Monster Floods,” California Wild, v. 56, no. 4 (Fall)
p. 18-21.

Parfit, Michael, 1995, “The Floods that Carved the West,” Smithsonian, v. 26, no. 1, p. 48–59. Winner of the 1996 Walter Sullivan Award (Amer. Geophys. Union).

Perdue, A., 2005, "Forces of Nature: How the last Ice Age shapted the Northwest wine industry," Wine Press Northwest, Fall 2005, p. 32-39.

Raker, B., 2004, "Erratics: Geologists study boulders for clues to ancient floods, icebergs in Eastern Washington," Northwest Science and Technology, Spring 2004, p. 24-28.

Stephens, Patia, 2001, “Sedimental Journey; Following the Path of Glacial Lake Missoula’s Flood Waters,” Montanan, v. 19, no. 2 (Winter), p. 20-26.

Steury, T., 2001, "Cataclysm, Light and Passion: How Washington came to produce some of the World’s greatest wines," Washington State Magazine, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, November 2001.


NOVA Public Television, 2005, Mystery of the Megaflood, WGBH, Boston, 56 min.

KSPS Public Television, 2001, Sculpted by Floods--The Northwest's Ice Age Legacy, KSPS Public Television, 57 min.

KUFM Public Television, 2002, Really, Really Big Floods, KUFM Public Television.

Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1998, Ice Age flood--Catastrophic Transformation of the West, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 28 min.

Warriner, G., 1985, An Age of Ice, Camera One Productions: Seattle, Washington.

Washington State University and Northwest Interpretive Association, The Great Floods: Cataclysms of the Ice Age, 1998.

Maps and Satellite Images

Google Earth is a great way to zoom in on features in the Channeled Scablands as seen from satellite. Software must be downloaded, but it is free.

Google Mars
Zoom to the surface of Mars and look at flood and flow features using the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data.  Nice, fast, interactive.

3-D Anaglyph Image of Central Washington State provided by Ray Sterner, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. Please note that red lens should be over left eye.

3-D Anaglyph Image of Central Washington State. A close-Up provided by Ray Sterner, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. Close-up view of region including Grand Coulee and Dry Falls. Please note that red lens should be over left eye.

3-D Anaglyph Image of Northern Idaho provided by Ray Sterner, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. Includes Lake Pend Oreille and flood outburst routes. Please note that red lens should be over left eye.

3-D Anaglyph Image of Northern Idaho provided by Ray Sterner, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. A close-up of the above image, which includes Lake Pend Oreille and flood outburst routes. Large file (1.1 MB). Please note that red lens should be over left eye.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1999, "Channeled Scablands of Lincoln County." 1 sheet, scale 1:100,000.

U.S. Forest Service, 1998, "Glacial Lake Missoula and the Channeled Scabland: A Digital Portrait of Landforms of the Last Ice Age, Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, Western Montana." 1 sheet, scale 1:1,000,000.

Wenatchee Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2005, "Wenatchee Valley Ice Age Floods Geological Trail: Self Guided Driving Tours", www.wenatcheevalley.org


Floods and Flows home page


Back to Education Page    |    Back to LPI Home Page