The Wenatchee chapter of the Ice Age Institute, the Erratics, heard Dr. Vic Baker talk about J Harlen Bretz Tuesday at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.
He described Bretz, who had assumed his name (the J without a period) at the time he was getting his PhD at Chicago. Bretz was fun-loving, pipe-smoking, and stubborn. He had to be, for his observations of the “Channeled Scablands” made by catastrophic floods was universally denied by the biggest names in geology.
His only regret, Baker told us, was that he out-lived all those detractors! Baker’s one thesis was a study of the hydrology of the floods. They were a million times bigger than the Mississippi. He went on to say that studies are still going on as to other sources of so much water. It is only by looking at our mistakes that science makes progress, he noted.
Bretz got the highest geology award finally at age 98.