Craig and Hanson (1985) later estimated the volume of water to be 2514 km³ at that elevation (Breckenridge, 1989). Chamberlin for finding the strandlines and suggesting that a glacial lake had been impounded in the area with the ice dam located in northern Idaho (Baker, 1995).
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Several lobes were associated with the Cordilleran Ice Sheet.
The Purcell Trench lobe moved southward (to 48° 10N) into Northern Idaho through the Purcell Trench and blocked the Clark Fork of the Columbia River with an ice dam (Booth, 2003).
A lake the size of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie combined was created.
This lake emptied when the ice dam failed, releasing a flood (USGS).
He hypothesized that the scablands and other distinct features could only have been created by a catastrophic flood (Breckenridge, 1989).
Bretz was criticized by prominent geologists of his day for this outrageous hypothesis.Ice dams are unstable structures and there are four possible causes for ice dam failure (Breckenridge, 1989). This sudden outburst of flood water is called a jkulhlaup.Those causes are: 1) Flotation of the ice dam causing water to flow subglacially. Pardee calculated that 2167 km³ of water would be stored when the water was at the elevation of 1265 m against the ice dam.The 610 m ice dam created by the glacier impounded water behind it stretching 322 km southward.This inland sea is now known as glacial Lake Missoula.A literature survey and search of the World Wide Web revealed previous studies supporting the theory that catastrophic floods created the distinctive landscapes in Washington and Oregon.