Northeastern Washington

The Palouse
Trip Day Nineteen: June 30, 2000

The Palouse is a region in Eastern Washington that makes up the Palouse River Basin, including parts of five Washington counties and two Idaho counties. It is characterized by rolling hills and scablands that are exposed basalt bedrock.

The pictures on this page were taken west of Spokan on US-2, when we were on the way to Grand Coulee Dam. The barns in this region were more likely to built of metal and have a newer, more technical look.

During the last ice age, a huge lake formed as the northern glaciers expanded. Water pooled behind a dam of ice, forming lake Missoula. Eventurally the amount of water became so great that the ice dam floated out of the way. A surge of water swept across parts of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Geologists believe this process happened again and again, forming much of the landscape of Eastern Washington.

According to a film shown at the Visitors Center at Grand Coulee Dam, the rolling hills of the Palouse look exactly like ripples in the sand, such as those found on a lake shore.

Palouse of Eastern Washington Geology Links:

Physical History of the Palouse.
Geology of the Palouse region of Washington.
The Missoula flood.
The geology of the Palouse of Eastern Washington.

Page last updated August 9, 2000.