The Institute has begun to formally recognize geologists who have, over the course of their careers, made significant contributions to the scientific understanding of the Missoula Floods and who have, with notable dedication, worked to present the story to the general public.
It is with great respect and appreciation that the Board of Directors has elected these individuals to Honorary Membership.
George E. Neff was the first Honorary Member named by the Ice Age Floods Institute (2001). The certificate was presented to George at his home in Ephrata, WA, by Jim Pritchard. In the citation, George is recognized for his many years of researching and presenting the Ice Age Floods geology of the Columbia Basin, and more specifically, for the several papers he has written and coauthored, and the field trips he has conducted, concerning Ice Age Floods geology.
In his career with the Bureau of Reclamation, George was involved in the planning of the canal system of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, from an engineering geology standpoint. This involved research from Grand Coulee Dam to Pasco. The Bureau of Reclamation needed to understand the total picture of the Floods events in order to plan properly.
Particularly significant is his contribution to the 1956 paper titled "Channeled Scabland of Washington: New Data and Interpretations," by J Harlen Bretz, H.T.U. Smith, and George E. Neff. This paper was a result of the 1952 field trip Bretz and Smith made to the area. Bretz wanted coauthors to challenge his ideas and to help strengthen the case that he had been presenting to the skeptical geological community for some thirty years, regarding the origin of the Scabland. Bretz and Smith contacted Neff at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation office in Ephrata to ask for his help, and to have him show them places they had not been, including some of Neff's discoveries. One of the most important discoveries was local evidence of multiple Ice Age flooding events.
George also assisted one of our members, Dr. Victor Baker, now at the University of Arizona, when Vic was doing research for his Ph.D. dissertation. And Baker, in writing about Bretz's career, has indicated how important George's contributions were in establishing the case for cataclysmic flooding.
George's latest contribution to our knowledge is the 1996 publication, Geologic Road Trips in Grant County, Washington, which was coauthored with Mark Amara and published by the Adam East (now Moses Lake) Museum and Art Center. The book was the basis for the guidebook for the memorable 1999 Institute and NPS field trip from Moses Lake, led by Richard Waitt (USGS) and Brent Cunderla (BLM).
In recognition of his dedicated service to the Institute and his major contributions to telling the story of the Ice Age Floods, Dean Ladd presented the certificate of Honorary Membership to Paul at his home in Spokane, Wash., in 2002.
Paul L. Weis, Ph.D., has been a major contributor to the body of research on the Ice Age floods for forty years. His first published contribution in telling the story of the floods was in the major work, The Quaternary of the United States, published in 1965. Paul was the coauthor of The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington, first published by the United States Geological Survey in 1974 and again in 1982. This compact presentation was revised and republished by the Eastern Washington University Press in 1989 and in 1999, and is still in print. The publication has been very popular in geologic circles and with the interested public because it tells the story of the floods in language we can all understand. The work is also very well illustrated with photographs and diagrams.
Dr. Weis has given hundreds of lectures and presentations on the floods story to students and adults throughout his career as a staff geologist with the USGS. When he retired from government service he continued to provide lectures, illustrated presentations, and field trips to interested groups and has continued to serve as a consultant to the USGS staff.
Paul was a member of the original Ice Age Floods Task Force, has been an active participant in the Ice Age Floods Institute since its beginning, and for six years has been a vigorous member of the Institute's Board of Directors. In 1996, he organized and led the first field trip sponsored by the Institute, inspiring the many trips that have followed and that have become a significant part of the organization's program and traditions. He continues to tell the story of the Ice Age floods whenever and wherever he can.