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Iceberg rafted glacial erratics and erosion features are evidence of these events.
He estimated the water flow was nine cubic miles per hour, more than the combined flow of every river in the world.
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.
This feedback cycle eventually weakened the ice dam so much that it could no longer support the pressure of the water behind it, and it failed catastrophically.
This process is known as a glacial lake outburst flood, and many such events have occurred in recorded history.
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.