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Free Public Lecture on the Natural History of the Blue Mountains

March 12, 2019 @ 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM

The Lake Lewis Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute will host a free public lecture “The Blues: Natural history of the Blue Mountains” by geology professor Bob Carson.

The Blue Mountains, stretching south of Walla Walla into central Oregon, are one of the Pacific Northwest’s iconic mountain ranges. Formed by successive periods of volcanic activity, home to diverse forest and grassland ecosystems, and rich in wildlife, the Blues have long held a special fascination for Whitman College professor of geology and environmental studies, emeritus, Bob Carson. On March 12, at 7pm at the REACH Interpretive Museum in Richland, he will share that fascination and take us deep into the story of the range’s creation and history. In professor Carson’s own words:

“Although there are many books about the Wallowas, no one had ever written about the natural history of the Blue Mountains, so visible from my home in Walla Walla, and such a marvelous place to enjoy nature while camping, hiking, or skiing. Although the bedrock is mostly basalt (with prominent dikes), fascinating outcrops of exotic terranes and plutons are scattered here and there. The Blues were not high enough to be glaciated but rather have deep river canyons cut into the giant anticline. Nearby, the Grande Ronde and John Day rivers have spectacular ingrown meanders. The surface of the Blues is adorned with patterned ground: mounds, stone stripes, and terracettes. Because of their length (stretching from Clarno, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington) and their one mile of relief, the Blues have a great variety of climate and vegetation. Particularly important is the grass-tree mosaic, with grasslands on south- and west-facing hillsides and forests on the north- and east-facing slopes; this is ideal habitat for mammals, birds, and other animals.”

Bob Carson received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Washington, (dissertation on Quaternary geology of Olympic Peninsula, Washington). He taught at North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon before joining the Whitman faculty in 1975. He considers himself an environmental geologist and a Quaternary geologist. His books include: Hiking Guide to Washington Geology, Where the Great River Bends, East of Yellowstone, Many Waters, and The Blues. His passions include mountaineering, glaciers, volcanoes, whitewater, and forests.

There will be a short business meeting prior to the lecture.


March 12, 2019
6:45 PM - 8:30 PM


REACH Museum
1943 Columbia Park Trail
Richland, WA 99352 United States
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Remember, most REACH events are FREE with a REACH Membership!  

Learn more about becoming a REACH Member!