Calendar of Events

Oct 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Jack Nisbet is the speaker for this lecture at The Lair Auditorium, Bldg 6 at Spokane Community College.  You will hear him discuss how in the fall of 1902, a Welch farmer happened upon one odd rock perched on a slope above the Willamette River.  It turned out to be a meteorite, and, the slow unfolding of its story revealed links to Northwest mining, museum politics, human nature and the deep history of the universe.  Part of its appeal rests in the realization that it is also an ice-rafted erratic that was probably washed downstream through Glacial Lake Missoula.  Nisbet is a Spokane-based teach and naturalist.  He is author of several books that explore the human and natural history of the Northwest, including biographics  of mapmaker David Thompson and naturalist David Douglas.  Nisbet’s most recent book, Ancient Places, is a cycle of stories about people and phenomena that helped to shape the landscape of ourregion.  The Ice Age Floods play a key role in several of these essays.  For more information, visit

Members of the IAFI Cheney Spokane Chapter will gather at 6 p.m. near The Lair for the Annual Membership Meeting.  President Gary Ford will share activities of the year and also plans for the future of the chapter.  

For more information, contact Melanie Bell, Media Manager at 509.954.4242 or email

Guest Lecture: Flood Basalts of the Pacific Northwest
Nov 5 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Guest Lecture: Flood Basalts of the Pacific Northwest @ Ritz Theatre | Ritzville | Washington | United States

Join us for a guest lecture this fall featuring CWU’s Nick Zentner.

Nick will offer a crash course on the giant lava flows of eastern Washington. Learn about the source, the size, the magnitude, the frequency and the uniqueness of the first floods.

Downloadable Flyer

Changing the Course of the Palouse River
Nov 8 @ 6:45 pm – 8:30 pm

ben-herndon-aerial-photo-of-the-palouse-river-which-has-cut-a-canyon-through-the-scablands-of-east-washingtonTry to envision flood waters rushing down the Cheney-Palouse scabland tract only to be funneled into the Palouse River which is so overwhelmed that floodwaters spill over the divide between the Palouse River Valley and the Snake River Valley. As the water rages, over one hundred square miles of loess soil up to 200 feet thick is stripped away; once exposed, the underlying fractured basalt rock is then plucked away as well.  Learn how the landscape tells the story of how a fracture zone is eroded deeper than the dPalouse River Valley and the river takes a shortcut across the divide.

Audience members will learn how stream capture during the floods diverted the Palouse River from the Washtucna Coulee to its present day location, creating Palouse Falls in the process and spillways including the Palouse Canyon, HU Canyon and Devil’s Canyon.

Columbia River Gorge – 50 Million Years of Geologic Tumult
Nov 17 @ 7:00 pm
Lloyd DeKay

Lloyd DeKay

The place we now see as a peaceful, idyllic Columbia River Gorge retreat is the exceptional product of over 50 million years of violent volcanic activity, immense floods of lava and raging iceberg-laden waters. Join a journey back in time with the eye of a geologist to explore the bleak background of this boneyard of devastation that we now consider a playground.

We’ll consider back-arc basins where ~20 million years of exotic plants and animals are entombed in volcanic debris. We’ll explore enormous outpourings of searing hot lava that now stack up to 3 miles thick from the Idaho border all the way to the Oregon coast and beyond. Then there is the later gargantuan uplift and outpouring of lava that built our deceptively beautiful Cascades, even as the Columbia River tore its way across the spine of the rising mountain chain.

And of course, we’ll dig into the devastatingly massive floods of water, ice, and debris that repeatedly scoured the Gorge, exposing to our sharp eyes and inquiring minds the tumult beneath the beautiful surface of this scenic gem. We may even look into the heart of geology to realize that geologists can be as much sleuth and storyteller as they are scientist.

About the speaker:
Lloyd DeKay is a marine geologist and sedimentologist who worked on Bonneville Dam, then in oil, gas, and geothermal exploration in various places around the world for over 30 years before retiring to White Salmon, WA. He is still learning about the remarkable geology of the Columbia River Gorge and the Pacific Northwest region in general, and sharing his knowledge through field trips and talks on behalf of the Columbia River Gorge Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute. You too can learn more about the captivating geologic history of the region at

Nov 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A free and open to the public lecture is offered by the IAFI Cheney-Spokane Chapter on the EWU campus.  You will hear Dr. John Buchanan, EWU Geology Professor, talk about the catastrophic outburst flooding by various mechanisms that have been occurring on Earth and Mars through geologic time.  Dr. Buchanan will examine how the “Ice Age Floods” in eastern Washington compare with the filling of the Mediterranean (Pliocene), the Altai and Black/Caspian Sea floods in Russia (Pleistocene), floods in the English Channel (Pleistocene), the dumping of Lake Bonneville (Pleistocene), the recent failure of the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska (2002), and ancient floods on the red planet, Mars.

Dr. Buchanan has been a member of the EWU faculty of the Department of Geology for 32 years.  While his academic focus includes sedimentology, hydrogeology, and geomorphology, he is easily excited about all things geological.  Dr. Buchanan is also a world traveler, an avid photographer, and a passionate amateur astronomer.


2017 IAFI Spring Board Meeting
Apr 22 all-day
2017 IAFI Annual Membership Meeting and Fall Board Meeting
Sep 29 – Sep 30 all-day

Logo IAFI HighResThe semi-annual meeting of the Board of Directors and the annual Membership Meeting and Field Trip will be Sept 29 and 30, 2017 in Soap Lake, WA.

More information will be forthcoming.