Age of Pangea:
Pangea was the master continent whinse all continents of earth derived. Events in no certain order.
Antarctica broke off from South Africa and drifted to the south pole.
Australia and New Zealand broke off from Antartica and drifted north-west to their current positions
North America broke lose from the north-west corner of where Europe is today.
By techtonic plate action this continent in north-west orientation moved west a few inches per year until it hit the Pacific plate. at which time it rotated to a south-east orientation until the area of Alaska, snugged up against Asia.
In an earlier period South America broke loose from Africa and moved westward a few inches per year to it's present location snugged against the Pacific plate.
Note: Notice that South America maintained the same orientation as when it left Africa, while North America rotated slowly to a north-south orientation after it collided with the Asian plate.
research and documentation by donkelly.
Techtonic Plate History of Washington State.
By professional researchers, collected and colated facts, and quoted with official citations.
One hundred million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, Okanogan terrane from the west docks against North American continent.
Note: This is adding land masses moving east and adding to the land mass of the west coast of America.
This adds to the land mass of North America and extends the coast another 50 miles west. Before the Okanogan terrane docking, the coastline ran along the present-day Idaho-Washington border.
In the formation of the Pacific Northwest region there have been some 50 terrane dockings. These dockings by plate-tectonics pushed the Pacific plate under the North American plate.
This over time spawned tremendous volcanic episodes, and the advance and retreat of glaciers contributed to the Puget Sound landscape that we know today.
The next terrane docking occurred 50 million years ago, is known as the "North Cascades" terrane. This microcontinent crunched against the Okanogan terrane, again adding to the land mass and moving the coastline to a line running from Bellingham to North Bend through Enumclaw.
NOTE: Present day Seattle was still under seawater.
The North Cascades terrane docking event was followed by a period of violent volcanic activity between 14 and 7 million years ago.
The last terrane docking 15 million years ago formed Vancouver Island, and a group of terranes known as Wrangellia terranes, the San Juan Islands, San Juan terranes, and finally the last arrival known as the Olympic terrane which crunched into the Wrangellia and San Juan terranes to the north and into the North Cascades terrane to the east. The Olympic terrane docking event pushed up the Olympic Mountains.
The Olympic terrane was carried on its collision course toward North America by the sinking of the Pacific plate. This action formed the Puget Sound trough, which was in place during Pleistocene Epoch. The Pleistocene Epoch began about 2.2 million years ago, and is often referred to as the beginning of the last Ice Age.
Arthur R. Kruckeberg, The Natural History of Puget Sound Country (Seattle: University of Washington Press  1998), 8-18. By Priscilla Long , January 21, 2003.
Following, except quotations, will be updated as new data is available.
Retreating glaciers create Puget Sound and Grand Coulee.
About 15,000 years ago, the Vashon glacier begins to melt and recede from lands that will come to be known as the Puget Sound region and the Columbia Basin region.
By 11,000 years ago, the glacier has retreated to the border of present-day Canada. During its advance, the glacier had carved out Lake Washington, Lake Tapps, Lake Sammamish, Puget Sound, and Hood Canal. The other major shaper of the land -- the pushing of the Pacific Plate underneath the North American plate, and the docking of terranes (fragments of continents) had already occurred long ago.
The Vashon glacier was the last "stade" (a glacial advance and retreat) to cover the region. It was the last glacier of the Pleistocene Epoch, which lasted from 2 million years b.p. (before present) to about 10,000 years b.p. As far south as the Seattle area to the west and the Spokane area to the east, the glacier there was up to 3,000 feet high.
In Eastern Washington, retreating glaciers formed temporary ice dams holding back billions of gallons of snowmelt. As these dams weakened and burst, they unleashed titanic floods which scoured the Columbia Basin and created the Grand Coulee. Geologist J Harlen Bretz (1882-1981) first theorized these gargantuan gullywashers in the 1920s.
Subsequent research has confirmed that the "Ice Age Floods" were among the greatest such cataracts in the known history of the planet.
The Pleistocene Epoch was characterized by glacial stades and by warmer interglacial periods. The fossils of plants and animals that lived during interglacial periods and just after the Vashon glacier retreated included the horse, bison, caribou, woolly mammoth, and the mastodon. The barren land left by the glacier was gradually filled by a primeval forest dominated by Douglas fir. Human beings, believed to have arrived in Washington from Asia 20,000 or so years ago, and inhabited this prehistoric landscape.
Arthur R. Kruckeberg, The Natural History of Puget Sound (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991), 1-33; David D. Alt and Donald W. Hyndman, Roadside Geology of Washington (Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing, 1990).
Note: This essay was corrected on January 12, 2008. By Priscilla Long, January 21, 2003
NOTE by donkelly: The ice age flood that scoured out the English Channel between Europe and England was probably at least comperable to the ice age floods cited above.
Both were caused by failed ice dams holding back the waters of great glacial lakes. The lake that scoured out the English Channel was a huge lake covering the north sea all the way to Scandinavia. (Denmark and Sweden). When that ice dam broke, it took about four days for England to be isolated from Europe.
550 years ago in the North-West, the Columbia River is blocked:
This file made possible by: The State of Washington
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
Landslide blocks the Columbia River in about 1450.
In about 1450, an immense landslide tumbles off Table Mountain in Skamania County and completely blocks the Columbia River, shoving it a mile off course. A lake forms behind the dam extending as far as 100 miles. The river will eventually breach the dam causing a 100-foot-deep flood downstream and creating the Cascades rapids. This is the most recent of four documented slides in the 14-square-mile Cascade Landslide Complex and will be called the Bonneville Landslide.
Table Mountain consists of Columbia Basalt on top of a softer clay-filled formation. "What you've got is a deck of cards that is pointing and sliding toward the river," said Alex Bourdeau, an archaeologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Hill). Perhaps because of seismic activity, soil and rocks slid off the mountain and into the river, creating a dam 5 1/2 square miles in area and 200 feet high -- three times the height of Bonneville Dam. Some rocks were 800 feet long and 200 feet thick.
The lake drowned trees along the river for 35 miles. Some time later, perhaps years later, the river breached the dam and flooded downstream to a depth of 100 feet as far as the future Troutdale. The breach became the Cascades of the Columbia, four miles of nearly continuous rapids that explorers Lewis and Clark called "the Great Schute" (O'Connor).
Note by donkelly:
The cascade cited above was deep enough at where Portland is today that it stacked up rocks against and topped Kelly's Butte within Portland city limits, and reversed the flow of the Clackamous river and the larger Willamette river which back flowed all the way south to Eugene, OR,
The cascade swamping forests and land in the Tualatin Valley and on both sides of the river down the I5 corridor to Eugene. OR.
Had Salem been there, it would have been scrubbed clean, and the Tualatin river and Forest Grove would have perhaps been under fifty feet of water.
Radio carbon dating of trees drowned by the lake placed the event between 1550 and 1750. A geologist recorded in 1869, "The Indians say these falls are not ancient, and that their fathers paddled up river without obstruction in their canoes as far as The Dalles" (O'Connor).
It is unknown if there were any human casualties of the cataclysm, but the creation of The Cascades was a boon to Native Americans. The rapids made the location ideal for catching salmon during the summer runs and became central to the local economy. The floods also created extensive sandy beaches downstream.
The slide also helped create a local legend about the Bridge of the Gods. Journalist Richard Hill described the story this way: "Wy'east (Mount Hood) and Pahto (Mount Adams) were powerful braves, the sons of Old Coyote. They both fell in love with a maiden (Mount St. Helens), and they frequently crossed a bridge over the Columbia to fight each other. Coyote caused the bridge to collapse in an effort to keep the feuding brothers apart."
In 1929, a steel Bridge of the Gods connected Oregon and Washington over the Cascades. In 1938, Bonneville Dam flooded the Cascades and the Bridge of the Gods had to be raised to accommodate shipping on the new lake formed behind the dam.
Richard L. Hill, "A New Look at an Old Landslide," The Oregonian (Portland), September 29, 1999, U.S. Geological Survey website accessed on June 7, 2006 (http://landslides.usgs.gov/recent/archives/1999bonneville.php); Jim E. O'Connor, "The Evolving Landscape of the Columbia River Gorge: Lewis and Clark and Cataclysms on the Columbia," Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 105, No. 3 (Fall 2004), pp. 390-421, Oregon Historical Quarterly website accessed on June 7, 2006 (http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ohq/105.3/oconnor.html). By David Wilma, June 08, 2006
First known European Visitors:This file made possible by: The State of Washington
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Tlehonnipts (those who drift ashore) become first European residents of Northwest lands near Satsop Spit (mouth of the Columbia) in about 1725.
In about 1725, Clatsops discover shipwrecked sailors whom they call Tlehonnipts (those who drift ashore) on a beach near Satsop Spit, which was located on the southern (Oregon) side of the mouth of the Columbia River. One of the sailors will be called Konapee the Iron Maker. They are probably the first European residents of the Pacific Northwest and will marry into Native American tribes in the region. The men may be Spanish or Mexican sailors engaged in the trade between Manilla and Mexico.
Clatsop oral tradition records that an old woman from the village of Ne-Ahkstow, about two mile south of Clatsop Spit, encountered a whale or an immense canoe with trees growing out of it. A bear-like creature emerged and frightened the woman who rushed home to alert the village. Clatsops found two men with beards who possessed metals unknown to them. Somehow their ship caught fire, but the Indians were able to recover iron, copper, and brass.
Word spread quickly among the tribes of the coast and interior and all wanted to take possession of these strangers as slaves. Ultimately the Clatsops agreed to yield up one man to the Willapas on the north side of the Columbia River while they retained one.
The Clatsop slave was put to work converting metals into useful tools and he earned the name Konapee the Iron Maker. As he demonstrated his utility to the tribe he was granted more freedom. The area where he worked was called Konapee.
Explorer James Cook, the first European recorded to have visited the Northwest, noticed in 1778 that the natives seemed familiar with iron implements and weapons. In 1811, Gabriele Franchere recorded meeting a man of 80 who claimed to be the son of Konapee. Konapee was one of four sailors stranded on the Oregon beach. According to the old man, Konapee wanted to go east and was allowed to travel as far as the Cascades, where he married the man's mother.
James A. Gibbs, Pacific Graveyard (Portland: Binfords & Mort, , 1964), 56-60. By David Wilma, October 17, 2006.
This file made possible by: Humanities Washington
Juan Perez and his crew on Spanish ship Santiago sight and name "Mount Olympus" on August 11, 1774.
On August 11, 1774, Spanish explorers on the ship Santiago, commanded by Juan Perez, sail past the future state of Washington, sight the (later-named) "Mount Olympus," and name it Cerro Nevada de Santa Rosalia. Juan Perez's Spanish expedition represents the first European discovery and exploration of Nueva Galicia (the Pacific Northwest).
The Santiago continued north to Nootka Sound and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Juan Perez and his mostly Mexican crew made contact with the Haida, and mapped the area.
Herbert K. Beals (translator), Juan Perez on the Northwest Coast: Six Documents of His Expeditions in 1774 (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1989); Santiago Saavedra, To the Totem Shore: The Spanish Presence on the Northwest Coast (Madrid, Spain: Ediciones El Viso, 1986. By Antonio Sanchez , April 03, 2004
British explorer George Vancouver (1758-1798), sailing on the Discovery, drops anchor at Elliott Point, the site of present-day Mukilteo. The following morning crewmembers from the Discovery disembark for exploration.
A Place of Roses
Captain George Vancouver?s visit to Puget Sound from April 29 to June 12, 1792, is well documented through his own charts and journals. Yet changes in magnetic calculations made the actual anchorage locations difficult to pinpoint. Author and scholar Robert B. Whitebrook undertook the task of working with U.S. Coast and Geodetic Surveys and experts to calculate and record the crew?s landings. He published his findings in a 1953 issue of the Pacific Northwest Quarterly. He cites 18 anchorages, with the one at Mukilteo is listed as number seven.
On May 30, 1792 the Discovery sailed up Admiralty Inlet and just before midnight, dropped anchor off Elliot Point, north of the present site of Mukilteo. The Discovery's sister ship, the Chatham, had chosen to anchor closer to what is now Everett and for a time the neither of the two vessels knew the other's location. Vancouver ordered a swivel to be fired and the Chatham responded.
Botanizing on Pt. Elliott
From the Point Elliott anchorage, Vancouver could easily view nearby Gedney Island. The next day Vancouver and botanist Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) from the Discovery and Lt. Broughton, commander of the Chatham, went ashore to explore. Broughton called the place ?Rose Point? for the many roses found on the site. These were wild bush roses, specifically Rosa nutkana, the Nootka rose. A few descendants of the plant can still be found along the shoreline. Menzies listed other aquatic plants found in the marsh near the beach, close to the present Mukilteo light house.
That afternoon the Discovery headed northwest and, finding little wind, anchored between Camano Head and Gedney Island. On June 1, 1792, both vessels headed toward Port Susan.
Robert B. Whitebrook, ?From Cape Flattery to Birch Bay: Vancouver?s Anchorages on Puget Sound," Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 1953), p. 125; Edmond S. Meany, Vancouver?s Discoveries of Puget Sound (Portland: Binford and Mort, 1935); Archibald Menzies, Menzies Journal of Vancouver?s Voyage, April to October, 1792 (Victoria, B.C.: W. H. Cullin, 1923), 44; Clearwater National Forest website accessed December 13, 2007 (http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/clearwater/). By Margaret Riddle, December 29, 2007
Smallpox epidemic ravages Native Americans on the northwest coast of North America in the 1770s.
During the 1770s, smallpox (variola major) eradicates at least 30 percent of the native population on the Northwest coast of North America, including numerous members of Puget Sound tribes. This apparent first smallpox epidemic on the northwest coast coincides with the first direct European contact, and is the most virulent of the deadly European diseases that swept over the region during the next 80 to 100 years. In his seminal work, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence, historian Robert Boyd estimates that the 1770s smallpox epidemic killed more than 11,000 Western Washington Indians, reducing the population from about 37,000 to 26,000.
By the 1850s, when the first EuroAmerican settlers arrived at Alki Point and along the Duwamish River, diseases had already taken a devastating toll on native peoples and their cultures. During the 80 year period from the 1770s to 1850, smallpox, measles, influenza, and other diseases had killed an estimated 28,000 Native Americans in Western Washington, leaving about 9,000 survivors. The Indian population continued to decline, although at a slower rate, till the beginning of the twentieth century when it reached its low point. Since then the Native American population has been slowly increasing.
Witness to Devastation: The Vancouver Expedition
In 1792, members of the Vancouver Expedition were the first Europeans to witness the effects of the smallpox epidemic along Puget Sound. On May 12, 1792, expedition member Archibald Menzies noted ?Several Indians pock mark?d ? a number of them had lost an eye? (Menzies, 29). Commander George Vancouver (1757-1798) stated that two days earlier members of his expedition exploring Hoods Canal spotted ?one man, who had suffered very much from the small pox.? He went on to say, ?This deplorable disease is not only common, but it is greatly to be apprehended is very fatal amongst them, as its indelible marks were seen on many; and several had lost the sight of one eye, which was remarked to be generally the left, owing most likely to the virulent effects of this baneful disorder? (Vancouver, Vol. 2, p. 241-242).
On May 21, 1792, Peter Puget discovered further signs of this disease on the Puget Sound residents. While Lieutenant Puget explored the southern reaches of the sound soon to receive his name, he met some Indians in a canoe. He stated that ?Two of the three in the Canoe had lost the Right Eye & were much pitted with the Small Pox, which Disorder in all probability is the Cause of that Defect?? (Peter Puget, PNW Quarterly, 198). On August 18, 1792, while near the Queen Charlotte Islands, Peter Puget gave a summary description of the Indians of Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia: ?[T]he Small pox most have had, and most terribly pitted they are; indeed many have lost their Eyes, & no Doubt it has raged with uncommon Inacteracy among them.? (Boyd, 30)
The Vancouver expedition encountered likely evidence of the havoc wrought by the epidemic. The expedition?s two ships Discovery and Chatham entered Juan de Fuca Straits and anchored at Port Discovery. On May 2, 1792, Commander Vancouver described the signs of a calamity at a nearby Indian village: ?The houses ? did not seem to have been lately the residence of the Indians. The habitations had now fallen into decay; their inside, as well as a small surrounding space that appeared to have been formerly occupied, were overrun with weeds; amongst which were found several human sculls, and other bones, promiscuously scattered about? (Vancouver, Vol. 2, p. 229-230).
In mid-June, while exploring Semiahmoo and Boundary bays on the east side of Puget Sound, members of the expedition landed near a large deserted village that they estimated was large enough for 400-500 inhabitants, ?[T]ho,? Menzies stated, ?it was now in perfect ruins ? nothing but the skeletons of the houses remain?d.?
At the conclusion of this 12-day exploration Menzies wrote in his journal: ?In this excursion the Boats went ? about a hundred & five leagues. They found but few Inhabitants in the Northern branches but if they might judge from the deserted Villages they met in this excursion, the Country appeard to be formerly much more numerously inhabited than at present, tho they could form no conjecture or opinion on the cause of this apparent depopulation which had not an equal chance of proving fallacious from their circumscribed knowledge of the manners & modes of living of the Natives? (Menzies, 60, 63).
Menzies and other members of the expedition did not make the connection between the depopulated villages and the Indians ?much pitted with the Small Pox,? but historian Robert Boyd did. Boyd conducted extensive research on the effect of European diseases on Northwest coast Indians. In his book, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence, he states that although there are several possible explanations for why these villages were void of human habitation (seasonal migration topping the list), the evidence provided by Vancouver and others who explored the Northwest coast strongly suggest a disease of epidemic proportions.
Native American Accounts
A few Indian oral histories survive that may describe the 1770s epidemic. In the 1890s, an "aged informant" from the Squamish tribe, located near the mouth of the Fraser River, related the history of a catastrophic illness to ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout. The ethnographer wrote:
A dreadful misfortune befell them. One salmon season the fish were found to be covered with running sores and blotches, which rendered them unfit for food. But as the people depended very largely upon these salmon for their winter's food supply, they were obliged to catch and cure them as best they could, and store them away for food. They put off eating them till no other food was available, and then began a terrible time of sickness and distress. A dreadful skin disease, loathsome to look upon, broke out upon all alike. None were spared. Men, women, and children sickened, took the disease and died in agony by hundreds, so that when the spring arrived and fresh food was procurable, there was scarcely a person left of all their numbers to get it. Camp after camp, village after village, was left desolate. The remains of which, said the old man, in answer by my queries on this, are found today in the old camp sites or midden-heaps over which the forest has been growing for so many generations. Little by little the remnant left by the disease grew into a nation once more, and when the first white men sailed up the Squamish in their big boats, the tribe was strong and numerous again? (Boyd, 55).
During the first or second decade of the 1900s, the photographer of Native Americans Edward S. Curtis interviewed an Indian who lived on the northwest side of Vancouver Island. Referring to the time of his great-great-grandfather, the Indian stated that a disease beset the village: ?So great was the mortality in this epidemic that it was impossible for the survivors to bury the dead. They simply pulled the houses down over the bodies and left them? (Boyd, 27). Although his informant told Curtis that the deaths were caused by an epidemic, others reported it was caused by warfare. So this may or may not refer to the late 1700s smallpox epidemic.
The Smallpox Virus
A person with smallpox (variola major) infects others by passing the virus through the air by coughing or by coming into physical contact. Once another person is infected, there is no way to stop the disease until it has run its course and the sick person either dies or survives.
One to two weeks after infection the first symptoms occur with fever, headache, and pains. About two days later, rashes appear as red spots on the face, hands and feet. Smallpox symptoms last about two more weeks. The red spots spread across the whole body and get larger, becoming pustular lesions. These lesions that look like blisters itch until they scab, dry up, and fall off. Survivors are left with deep scars or pockmarks on the face and body. It takes about one month after the initial infection for the disease to run its course. Those who survive are immune from the disease for life.
Worldwide studies show that the fatality rates to people never before exposed to smallpox are at least 30 percent of the entire population and sometimes as high as 50 to 70 percent. A vaccination to smallpox was discovered in 1798 by an Englishman and first used in Puget Sound during the 1836-1837 outbreak.
The Range of the 1770s Epidemic
The 1770s smallpox epidemic affected a large area of the Northwest Coast of North America ranging from Alaska to Oregon. In 1787, English fur trader Nathaniel Portlock noticed it to the far north. Upon entering a harbor near Sitka, Alaska, he expected to find a "numerous tribe" but met only six adults and seven children. Portlock stated, ?I observed the oldest of the men to be very much marked with the small-pox, as was a girl who appeared to be about fourteen years old.? Portlock went on to say, ?The old man ? told me that the distemper carried off great numbers of the inhabitants, and that he himself had lost ten children by it ?? (Boyd, 23-24).
The Lewis and Clark Expedition across North America found evidence of smallpox when they camped along the lower Columbia River. On April 3, 1806, William Clark noted in his journal that ?an old man ? brought forward a woman who was badly marked with the Small Pox and made Signs that they all died with the disorder which marked her face, and which She was very near dieing with when a Girl ?? (Boyd, 29). Clark estimated this outbreak had occurred about 28 to 30 years ago (1776 to 1778).
Fur traders also noticed signs of smallpox farther south along the central Oregon coast. And signs were seen east of the Cascade Mountains. In April 1829, Hudson's Bay Company employee John Work, while at Fort Colville located in the Columbia River Basin, saw the disfiguring evidence of the disease. He wrote that, ?Immense numbers of them were swept off by a dreadful visitation of the smallpox, that from the appearance of some individuals that bear marks of the disease, may have happened fifty or sixty years ago? (Boyd, 28). Work also estimated the smallpox epidemic occurred during the 1770s.
Spanish Explorers the Likely Carriers
There are various theories as to how smallpox reached Puget Sound and the Northwest Coast. Boyd considers three possibilities. One is that Indians hunting for bison or Indian traders traveling by horses carried the disease across the Great Plains and the Columbia Plateau. Another theory is that Russian voyagers carried smallpox from the Russian colony of Kamchatka in eastern Siberia, then along the Aleutian Islands to mainland Alaska and south along the Northwest Coast. Kamchatka had a smallpox outbreak in 1768. The last possibility Boyd considers is that Spanish explorers carried smallpox on one of their three expeditions undertaken from 1774 to 1779 from Mexico to the Northwest Coast. Boyd believes that the 1775 Spanish expedition was the most likely carrier.
The 1775 expedition was led by Bruno Hezeta, commander of the Santiago and Juan Fracisco de la Bodega & Quadra, commander of the Sonora. The expedition went ashore and made contact with natives at Trinidad Bay in California, at Quinault in Washington, and at Sitka, Alaska. There was evidence of an unknown disease on the Santiago.
The smallpox epidemic of the 1770s was the first and the most devastating of a number that were to follow. During the next few decades, less virulent but still extremely damaging epidemics, would attack eastern Puget Sound Indians again and again. Boyd documents the following:
- A smallpox epidemic perhaps in 1800-1801
- influenza in 1836-1837
- measles in 1847-1848
- smallpox again in 1862
Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence (Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 1999), 22-24, 27-30, 34, 36-37, 55, 204-205, 273, 293-295; Menzies? Journal of Vancouver?s Voyage April to October, 1792 ed. by C. F. Newcombe (Victoria, B.C.: Printed by William H. Cullin, 1923), 29, 53-63; George Vancouver, A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific and Round the World ? Vol. 2 (London: G. G. and J. Robinson, 1798), p. 229-230, 241-242; Peter Puget, ?Log of the Discovery. May 7-June 11, 1792,? Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 2 (1939), p. 198; Robert T. Boyd, George M. Guilmet, David L. Whited, Nile Thompson, ?The Legacy of Introduced Disease: The Southern Coast Salish? American Indian and Culture and Research Journal Vol. 15, No. 4 (1991), p. 7-8, 11. By Greg Lange, January 23, 2003