Bretz's Flood : The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Geologist by John Soennichsen

By John Soennichsen

Traditional geologic considering consistently acknowledged that the panorama among Idaho and the Cascade Mountains — a distinct position characterised by way of gullies, coulees, and deserts — used to be created over hundreds of thousands of years via rivers that had lengthy when you consider that long past dry. technology professor J Harlen Bretz (who made up his personal identify and deliberately didn’t use a interval after J), inspiration differently. in accordance with huge examine and willing statement, he believed this region were scoured in a digital speedy through an enormous flood. simply because Bretz was once a gadfly within the clinical group and his proposal seemed like an try and turn out the biblical flood, he was once for my part and professionally attacked and humiliated. Undaunted, he utilized all of his abilities to proving his thesis, yet he must watch for affirmation until eventually satellite tv for pc images turned common years after his retirement. Bretz's Flood tells a thrilling tale of an epic secret of the western panorama, the way it got here to be solved, and the interesting scientist who did it.

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Additional resources for Bretz's Flood : The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Geologist and the World's Greatest Flood

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That Bretz followed a similar path may be more than mere coincidence. Throughout his life, Bretz would quote Agassiz frequently; he was clearly inspired by Agassiz’s work on glaciers as well as his penchant for fieldwork and his belief in its importance to scientific inquiry. Bretz and his fellow students at Albion no doubt read Agassiz’s writings on glaciers, so it is not surprising that Bretz began his geologic research with glacial mapping and a thorough familiarization with the ancient movement of ice.

A 27-year-old Seattle high school biology teacher named J Harlen Bretz strolled across town to the University of Washington’s Department of Geology. S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map of the Quincy Basin, a shallow, bowl-like depression just east of the Columbia River near the center of Washington state. 21 BRETZ’S FLOOD Topographic maps are distinguished from other maps by their use of contour lines to depict the shape and elevation of the land. In effect, they allow a three-dimensional terrain to be depicted on a two-dimensional surface.

Although many of his students confessed in later years to having been afraid of their professor, Bretz was not particularly draconian in his delivery of discipline. He did, however, occasionally encounter classroom cheaters, for whom he had little patience and even less mercy. One case of cheating occurred during a final exam for a beginning geology class. Writes Bretz: Two papers contained identically phrased answers to the same question. I remembered that the two papers involved came from two students who sat next to each other.

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