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As the water emerged from the Columbia River gorge, it backed up again at the 1 mile (1.6 km) wide narrows near Kalama, Washington.Some temporary lakes rose to an elevation of more than 400 ft (120 m), flooding the Willamette Valley to Eugene, Oregon and beyond.Bretz coined the term Channeled Scablands in 1923 to refer to the area near the Grand Coulee, where massive erosion had cut through basalt deposits.Bretz published a paper in 1923, arguing that the Channeled Scablands in Eastern Washington were caused by massive flooding in the distant past. Pardee, had worked with Bretz and had evidence of an ancient glacial lake that lent credence to Bretz's theories.As the depth of the water in Lake Missoula increased, the pressure at the bottom of the ice dam increased enough to lower the freezing point of water below the temperature of the ice forming the dam.This allowed liquid water to seep into minuscule cracks present in the ice dam.The Missoula Floods (also known as the Spokane Floods or the Bretz Floods) refer to the cataclysmic floods that swept periodically across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Gorge at the end of the last ice age.The glacial flood events have been researched since the 1920s.
During the last deglaciation that followed the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, geologists estimate that a cycle of flooding and reformation of the lake lasted an average of 55 years and that the floods occurred several times over the 2,000-year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. Within the Columbia River drainage basin, detailed investigation of the Missoula floods' glaciofluvial deposits, informally known as the Hanford formation, has documented the presence of Middle and Early Pleistocene Missoula flood deposits within the Othello Channels, Columbia River Gorge, Channeled Scabland, Quincy Basin, Pasco Basin, and the Walla Walla Valley.
These glacial lake outburst floods were the result of periodic sudden ruptures of the ice dam on the Clark Fork River that created Glacial Lake Missoula.