Science Pub Portland: Missoula Floods

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Science Pub Portland: Missoula Floods
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Science Pub Portland: Missoula Floods says
Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods
with Scott Burns, PhD, Professor of Geology at Portland State University

One of the greatest set of geological events to ever have occurred in North America was given the name, the Missoula Floods, which occurred between 15,000 and 18,000 years ago. This talk will focus on the incredible story of discovery and development of the idea of the floods by J Harlen Bretz and then will discuss the effect of the floods on the development of the landscape of 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest.

Scott Burns, PhD, is a professor Emeritus of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University where he has taught for over 20 years. He has a B.S. degree in chemistry and a M.S. degree in physical sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Burns specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and quaternary geology. In Oregon, his projects involve landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, the Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development.

He has won many awards for outstanding teaching and his work in geology, including the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association in 2001, the Richard Jahns Award for engineering geology from GSA and AEG in 2011, and the Outstanding Scientist for Oregon for 2014 from the Oregon Academy of Sciences. He has authored more than 100 publications and received more than 25 research grants. Dr. Burns actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public and, for the past 43 years, has been studying wine and terroir—the relationship between wine, soils, geology, and climate.

Science Pub Mission is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone. No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email:

Dinner and drinks will be available throughout the presentation. Please see the Mission Theater website for a dinner menu and venue information.
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By: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

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