Sculpted By Ice

Highland Wonders

Dec 16 2022 • 53 mins

Kicking off the 3rd season of the Highland Wonders Podcast we are joined by Dr. Karl Lillquist, geography professor from Central Washington University, who has a special connection to the Okanogan Highlands because he grew up here and has studied this landscape for his whole career! This summer, Karl led a group of geology enthusiasts on an ice age tour though the highlands, visiting road cuts high above the valley floor where deep lake sediments are visible, hiking atop eskers and kames, which are structures formed by stagnant ice, and observing glacier-carved bedrock hills near Havillah. This podcast hits the highlights, but we expect that after listening you will be excited to learn more, and you are in luck! Dr Lillquist wrote a detailed field guide, complete with a map of our tour locations - if you are in the area, you can take yourself on a tour!

Check out:

Field Guide: Landforms and Landscapes of the Okanogan Highlands by Dr Karl Lillquist

To learn more about and support Okanogan Highlands Alliance, visit: okanoganhighlands.org


A Story from Anna, Nature Detective

“Dad, I learned at school today that a long time ago there was ice here, and it covered everything except the very tallest mountains. A lot of ice - like, a HUGE glacier! And that the ice was SO deep. Maybe even a whole mile deep! Maybe deeper!” Her dad looks up in surprise - this is news to him!

Anna continues, “Do you think that’s true? Where did the ice go? Did it melt? If it melted, where did the water go? How do people know there was ice here when there’s no ice now?”

Anna and her dad are putting together a puzzle at their kitchen table - it’s a hard one, but slowly the picture is starting to come together.

Anna’s dad stops and thinks, “Well, Anna, it’s probably a little bit like putting this puzzle together. There are hints - like, the shapes and the colors of these puzzle pieces - but you don’t really know for sure all the time that you are putting it together the right way. Look! Here’s a piece we put in that doesn’t fit quite right.” Anna and her dad puzzle in silence for a few more minutes.

“What are you talking about, dad? What kind of hints would ice leave? Fossils?” Anna frowns, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, fossils are in rocks, not ice. But maybe there were ice fish trapped in ice rocks that are still here somewhere in ice caves, and she could find some ice fish fossils someday. That would be so cool.

“Yes, fossils might give some clues. I’m not really sure, Anna, but I bet some of the things that happen now happened back then, so if we can find, like, creeks and rivers now, maybe we could look for signs of old creeks or rivers, and those might be a hint about what it used to look like. And maybe the indigenous people, who have lived here a long time, have a memory or record of how things have changed. If you look for lots of clues in lots of different places, they might make a whole story, like the puzzle pieces make a picture. Then you can look for more clues and see if the new clues makes sense with your story. If not, change your story so it makes sense with what you find!”

“So, scientists really are like detectives! And story-tellers! That sounds like a fun job. I hope I can be a scientist someday.”

Anna’s dad laughs, “I’d say you are a pretty good scientist already! They don’t call you Nature Detective for nothing! Now, since we are both curious about this mile-high glacier, let’s listen to OHA’s newest podcast - Sculpted by Ice, with Dr Karl Lillquist. Maybe he has some clues for us!”

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