Glaciers, past and present

Two events: tour Newton-Clark Glacier, hear experts describe ancient Gorge, Northwest geology

On scene or “armchair,” two events this week provide a chance to learn about the geological forces at work in the Gorge both past and present.

Geologists Bruce Bjornstad and Eugene Kiver will speak Sept. 25 at Hood River Library in a program sponsored by the Columbia Gorge Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute. (Details below.)

Join U.S. Forest Service Geologist Tom DeRoo on a strenuous hike to the base of the Newton-Clark Glacier Sept. 22 from 8:30-5 p.m.

This is a unique opportunity to observe U.S. Forest Service photographic monitoring of the landslide hazard in the upper Newton Creek valley, the source of the November 2006 debris flow. The trip will showcase recent geological activity on the mountain, including ridge failures, debris flows and glacial recession.

Participants should be prepared to hike seven miles round trip at 7,000 feet elevation for a total 2,220 feet of elevation gain.

Cost is $18. Transportation is provided from the Park and Ride across from China Gorge Restaurant. Space is limited. Register with Hood River Community Education online at or 541-386-2055.

For more information, contact Megan Saunders at 541-386-6063 or

Ice Age cataclysms violently transformed the Northwest thousands of years ago, leaving behind scores of flood features, many found nowhere else on Earth.

n A pair of geologist authors share their knowledge Sunday about the Ice Age floods in a new book, “On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches: A geological field guide to northern Idaho and the Channeled Scabland.”

Bjornstad and Kiver will be in Hood River Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. at Hood River Library, 502 State St.

Following up on his first volume, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: A geological field guide to the Mid-Columbia Basin, Bjornstad joined forces with colleague Kiver to guide readers upstream — northward into the Channeled Scabland and northern Idaho.

The authors explore numerous flood features and present dozens of trails and tours directing readers to experience, firsthand, the striking aftermath of the Ice Age floods.

The authors will present a 45-minute slide lecture followed by a book signing. For details call 509-493-4288.

The floods helped gouge out Idaho’s largest and deepest lake, Pend Oreille, and sculpted the weird topography of eastern Washington. This new geological field guide in a series leads readers upstream – northward into the Channeled Scabland and northern Idaho.

“On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: The Northern Reaches” explores numerous flood features and presents dozens of trails and tours directing readers to experience, firsthand, the striking aftermath of the Ice Age floods. The authors explain 19 types of landforms and point out 65 flood-formed features. They include 39 hiking and biking routes, five driving tours, and two aerial tours with self-interpretive narratives for readers. The 480-page, softcover book includes 32 pages of color plates and sells for $26 (Keokee Books, Sandpoint, Idaho). Both volumes of “On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods” feature cover illustrations by Stev Ominski (, a Corvallis, Ore., artist renowned for his series of paintings on the Ice Age floods.

Both titles make ideal companions when exploring the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, named one of “The 10 Most Spectacular Geologic Sites” in the continental United States by Smithsonian Magazine.

Bjornstad, a resident of Richland, Wash., is a licensed geologist/hydrogeologist who has studied the Ice Age floods since 1980. Also a licensed geologist, Kiver retired from EWU in 2002 and divides his time between Cheney and Anacortes, Wash., while still conducting research.

Both are active members of the Ice Age Floods Institute and regularly lecture and lead field trips on the subject.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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