The Channeled Scab lands near Washtucna, Washington
Scroll down for image

Why are they called the channeled scab lands when television doesn't pay any attention to them?  No, it is not "channels," like on television.  Instead it is channels, or giant ruts through the landscape.  The ruts were washed out during massive prehistoric floods.  Floods so large that they certainly would have gotten the attention of television, had it been invented back then. 

The great Spokane floods, as they are called, were a series of floods occurring over 10's of thousands of years when a series of ice dams broke near what is now Sand Point, Idaho.  These dams created bodies of water commonly called Lake Missoula.  Beach terraces of these lakes are still visible today in the hills surrounding Missoula, Montana.

Some of these floods were calculated to have released a cubic mile of water every few minutes, spreading out over all of Eastern Washington and causing the channeled scablands.  The water flow was so great that when the floods hit a narrow spot near the Tri-Cities, called the Wallula Gap, waters backed up the Yakima River well past where the city of Yakima, Washington now resides.  Additional restrictions, further down stream, caused similar floods. Most memorable of these later floods backed up the Willamette River  at Portland for tens of miles.

A inspection of a map of this area shows just how large these floods were. If you dig deeper you will find this story fascinating.

Part of description contributed by a reader.



Photos by region, subject, contact.


More pictures of region

On Flickr

Palouse Falls

Joso railroad trestle

Starbuck, WA.

Sign to Ritzville

Dry canyon road

Dust storm

Palouse hills