Science Pub Portland: The Great Missoula Floods

MAR 20, 2018 | 7-9PM

Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods

With Scott Burns, PhD, Professor of Geology at Portland State University

March 20, 2018 | Doors Open @ 5PM 

$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets available online or at the OMSI front desk until 2pm the day of the event; see below for details.


One of the greatest set of geological events to ever have occurred in North America was given the name, the Missoula Floods, which occurred between 15,000 and 18,000 years ago.  This talk will focus on the incredible story of discovery and development of the idea of the floods by J Harlen Bretz and then will discuss the effect of the floods on the development of the landscape of 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest. 


Scott Burns, PhD, is a professor Emeritus of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University where he has taught for over 20 years. He has a B.S. degree in chemistry and a M.S. degree in physical sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Burns specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and quaternary geology. In Oregon, his projects involve landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, the Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development.


He has won many awards for outstanding teaching and his work in geology, including the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association in 2001, the Richard Jahns Award for engineering geology from GSA and AEG in 2011, and the Outstanding Scientist for Oregon for 2014 from the Oregon Academy of Sciences. He has authored more than 100 publications and received more than 25 research grants. Dr. Burns actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public and, for the past 43 years, has been studying wine and terroir—the relationship between wine, soils, geology, and climate.

OMSI Science Pub at the Empirical Theater will be a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk before 2pm the day of the event. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.


There will no longer be official seat reservations available at the door. You are welcome to reserve a seat with your jacket or sweater.

Science Pub OMSI is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge!


Pizza and salads will be available in our restaurant, Theory, and sandwichs and snacks from the Empirical Café. Guests can check-in at the theater entrance and find a seat before grabbing dinner and drinks. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 5pm.


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