Last night Bruce Bjornstad, a geologist from Washington, presented his new book to a gathering at the Tualatin Heritage Center. The book is titled On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches and is the second Bjornstad has written on the subject. Bjornstad is a steady presenter and his visual materials are first rate. After the presentation – which seemed far too short, even though it was well over an hour – I visited the book table in the back of the room and thumbed through the book. It is chock-full of information and illustrations, and a steal at the $26.00 recommended retail price. I snatched up the last one on the table, and Bruce was kind enough to sign it for me.
I was certainly not alone in my admiration of Bjornstad’s work and product. According to Dr. Scott Burns, also in attendance, Bjornstad’s books are the best of their kind, and an essential resource for anyone interested in locating, identifying and understanding the signature geological artifacts of the Missoula Floods. Burns himself is an expert on the subject, and is one of the authors of the highly popular Cataclysms on the Columbia. Cataclysms tells the overarching story of the floods and their discovery, including the remarkable saga of J. Harlen Bretz, the geologist who “discovered” them.
I’ve been fascinated by the Missoula Floods ever since I happened to stop at the Dry Falls Interpretive Center in 1998. The floods figured significantly in the development of Washington County, one of the most important agricultural centers in the Pacific Northwest, as I explain in one of the chapters of Up Fanno Creek. One of the best of many resources on the subject is the Ice Age Institute, which sponsored last night’s wonderful presentation. Check the Institute’s website for announcements.