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Over a period of time, the friction from water flowing through these cracks generated enough heat to melt the ice walls and enlarge the cracks.This allowed more water to flow through the cracks, generating more heat, allowing even more water to flow through the cracks.In the summer of 1922, and for the next seven years, Bretz conducted field research of the Columbia River Plateau.He had been interested in unusual erosion features in the area since 1910 after seeing a newly published topographic map of the Potholes Cataract.
After analysis and controversy, geologists now believe that there were 40 or more separate floods, although the exact source of the water is still being debated.Based on the presence of multiple interglacial calcretes interbedded with flood deposits, magnetostratigraphy, optically stimulated luminescence dating, and unconformity truncated clastic dikes, it has been estimated that the oldest of the Pleistocene Missoula floods happened before 1.5 million years ago.Because of the fragmentary nature of older glaciofluvial deposits, which have been largely removed by subsequent Missoula floods, within the Hanford formation, the exact number of older Missoula floods, which are known as Ancient Cataclysmic Floods, that occurred during the Pleistocene cannot be estimated with any confidence.Bretz's view, which was seen as arguing for a catastrophic explanation of the geology, ran against the prevailing view of uniformitarianism, and Bretz's views were initially disregarded. C, invited the young Bretz to present his previously published research at a January 12, 1927 meeting where several other geologists presented competing theories. Bretz defended his theories, and this kicked off an acrimonious 40-year debate over the origin of the Scablands.Both Pardee and Bretz continued their research over the next 30 years, collecting and analyzing evidence that led them to identify Lake Missoula as the source of the Spokane Flood and creator of the Channeled Scablands.