Bus Tours




Oct. 6, 2018 – 9 am to 5 pm
Ice Age Flooding and Glaciation in the Columbia River Valley Geology Tour
$45, $40

Jim O’Connor of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), one of the preeminent experts on the Missoula Floods, and Brent Cunderla will be your guides on a tour focused on the ice age floods and glaciation in the Columbia River Valley from Moses Coulee to Pateros. The tour, slated for 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, Oct. 6 begins and ends at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

Topics for the tour include the Missoula and other floods and the relationship of these floods to the landscape of the Columbia River Valley, Moses and Grand coulees. The history of the Okanogan glacial lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet will be highlighted.

O’Connor majored in Geological Sciences at the University of Washington and earned an M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Arizona. Since 1991, he has worked at the USGS, intent on improving understanding of the processes and events that shape the remarkable and diverse landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. His primary research and writing activities center on stream channel and floodplain processes, glaciers, floods, debris flows, landslides, geologic and hydrologic hazards and the history of geology.

O’Connor is a current member of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of American, and has served on the Pima County Flood Control Advisory Board, the Hatfield Science Team. He is the current editor of Quaternary Research. The journal’s scope is global, building on its nearly 50-year history in advancing the understanding of earth and human history through interdisciplinary study of the last 2.6 million years.

A leader in scientific geology studies, O’Connor received the USGS Director’s Award recognizing his work in landslide response, the USGS Excellence in Science Award and received a Fulbright Fellowship for work in U.S.-Spain Cooperative Science in 2000. His academic publications are numerous, including six pages of professional citations.


Oct. 13, 2018 – 9 am to 5 pm
Yakima River Canyon Geology
$45, $40

The Umptanum Ridge Water Gap, also known as the Yakima River Canyon is the main feature of this geology tour. Guests will explore some spectacularly beautiful and rugged terrain while learning the unique and powerful natural forces at work in the landscape. Learn how the rule of geologic precedence sets the stage for a flat-land meandering river to become a frozen-in-place meander at the bottom of a deep canyon surrounded by the Manastash, Umtanum, Yakima and Ahtanum ridge tops. Besides visiting locations in the canyon, the tour will stop at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center at Vantage. Talking points include glacial moraines, ancient volcanoes, Yakima fold belt, anticlines, synclines, Columbia River and Ellensburg formation basalt flows.