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After the rupture, the ice would reform, creating Glacial Lake Missoula again. Geological Survey hydrologist Jim O'Connor and Spanish Center of Environmental Studies scientist Gerard Benito have found evidence of at least twenty-five massive floods, the largest discharging ≈10 cubic kilometers per hour (2.7 million m³/s, 13 times the Amazon River).During the last deglaciation that followed the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, geologists estimate that a cycle of flooding and reformation of the lake lasted an average of 55 years and that the floods occurred several times over the 2,000-year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. Within the Columbia River drainage basin, detailed investigation of the Missoula floods' glaciofluvial deposits, informally known as the Hanford formation, has documented the presence of Middle and Early Pleistocene Missoula flood deposits within the Othello Channels, Columbia River Gorge, Channeled Scabland, Quincy Basin, Pasco Basin, and the Walla Walla Valley.Further, Shaw and team proposed that the rhythmic Touchet beds are the result of multiple pulses, or surges, within a single larger flood.In 2000, a team led by Komatsu simulated the floods numerically with a 3-dimensional hydraulic model.Geologist J Harlen Bretz first recognized evidence of the catastrophic floods, which he called the Spokane Floods, in the 1920s.He was researching the Channeled Scablands in Eastern Washington, the Columbia Gorge, and the Willamette Valley of Oregon.The peak flow of the floods is estimated to be 40 to 60 cubic kilometers per hour (9.5 to 15 cubic miles per hour).
This discharge, if occurring concurrently with the breach of the Lake Missoula ice dam, would have provided significantly larger volumes of water.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.His most compelling argument for separate floods was that the Touchet bed deposits from two successive floods were found to be separated by two layers of volcanic ash (tephra) with the ash separated by a fine layer of windblown dust deposits, located in a thin layer between sediment layers ten rhythmites below the top of the Touchet beds. By analogy, since there were 40 layers with comparable characteristics at Burlingame Canyon, Waitt argued they all could be considered to have similar separation in deposition time.The two layers of volcanic ash are separated by 1–10 centimetres (0.4–3.9 in) of airborne nonvolcanic silt. The controversy whether the Channeled Scabland landforms were formed mainly by multiple periodic floods, or by a single grand-scale cataclysmic flood from late Pleistocene Glacial Lake Missoula or from an unidentified Canadian source, continued through 1999.
Iceberg rafted glacial erratics and erosion features are evidence of these events.