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Western Montana Was Underwater 15,000 Years Ago

Missoula hill
The parallel lines on hills around Missoula show old shorelines of Lake Missoula. (GoogleEarth)

This weekend, you can learn about Glacial Lake Missoula at two different campground presentations.

The history of the 15,000 year-old ancient lake will be presented Friday night, June 22, at Beavertail Hill State Park 26 miles east of Missoula on I-90.

The second presentation will be at the Salmon Lake State Park Saturday, June 23, at the campground amphitheater about 5 miles south of Seeley Lake, just off Highway 83.

The last major ice age brought glaciers down into what is now the United States and backed up water in Montana, all the way to Darby. And we’re talking about deep water. Missoula (see photo) was under hundreds of feet of water at the time.

As the ice age ended, the ice dam at Sandpoint, Idaho, melted and the water broke through, flooding parts of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The dam would then reform and go through the process again, over and over until the ice was gone.

Chris Neu will give audiences a good idea of what areas the lake covered and where evidence can be found. The Montana State Park presentations are free to public.


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