Thursday, January 25, 2024

A Few Notes on Israel Russell

Over the past several months I have encountered Israel Russell on several occasions. Russell did some of the earliest work on trying to figure out some of the remarkable features of Washington State (Russell (1893)Russell (1897) and Russell (1900). He made a significant effort in his writing style to appeal to non geologist readers as well as the technical detail needed for his USGS reports. Russell is referenced several times in a book I recently read, The Great Columbia Plain A Historical Geography 1805-1910 by Donald Meinig. I crossed paths with Russel again when doing some research for work I was doing in the Yakima Canyon. 

1892 View of Yakima Canyon from Russell (1893)
The view is to the north with Rattlesnake Ridge on the distant right side (there is a trail up that ridge).
The railroad grade is on the west, left, side of the river. 
The picture predates the road that was later built on the east side.

I think the picture in the Russell (1893) report was taken from the basalt outcrop below the top edge of the canyon to the left of the tall pine.  
Russel (1893) also described the Toppenish Landslide (toppenish-ridge-landslide-near-mabton) as well as the Great Terrace along the Columbia River near Chelan. 

Skye Cooley provides an overview of Russell's 1893 paper on central Washington (i-s-russell-s-reconnaissance-of-central-washington-1893). Note that Skye Cooley also has some great stuff on calcrete in eastern Washington and a really detailed post on clastic dikes in eastern Washington that I find to be consistent with my own observations. Nick Zentner Ice Age Floods Episode D discusses Russell with Skye Cooley. 

And just a week ago In the Company of Plants and Rocks discussed another venture of Russell at Mono Craters (visiting-mono-craters-with-israel-russell). Russell also studied the Malaspina Glacier in Alaska - work that greatly informed his observations along the former ice margins in central Washington including glacial water stream channels south of Lake Chelan in Knapp Coulee. I use images of the Malaspina Glacier as a analog for the past glacial ice in northwest Washington.    

Bretz (1910) described large glacial lakes that formed in the Puget Sound area when glacial ice advanced into the western Washington lowlands from British Columbia stated that "It seems fitting that to this lake of Puget Sound, with outlet southward through Black Lake channel and with levels controlled by that channel, a name should be given in tribute to the work of a geologist to whom our knowledge of the physiography of western North America must always be deeply indebted. In memory of Israel Cook Russell may this water body be known as Lake Russell."


Hollis said...

Interesting post, Dan. Nice to hear more about Israel Russell, especially the breadth of his work and Bretz's tribute.

Anonymous said...

You are most likely correct as to the location of the photo. North end of the beavertail curve. (track-wise, westbound)