Talk:Palouse Falls

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Conflicting information[edit]

What is the height of the falls—198 feet as indicated in the infobox, or 180 feet, as indicated in the text? (The metric equivalents show a similar discrepancy.) 69.42.7.212 (talk) 00:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Height of Palouse Falls[edit]

How high is Palouse Falls? You seem to have a reliable source estimating it at 198 ft, but the Kayaking world believes it is 186 ft. Where did you get the height estimate of the falls? Thanks, Seek writ awe there (talk) 21:23, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Excellent question. The reference that I used was "Picture This". Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Spring 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2009.  which states, "Palouse Falls, with a height of 198 feet, was formed when glacial floods produced a series of waterfalls along the Palouse River before it entered the Snake River..." Although a national laboratory is normally the source of peer reviewed materials—which implies a high degree of rigor in fact checking—this appears to be primarily a photo sharing site (photos produced by the USG or with their funds are in the public domain). Similarly we can find that height at ""Palouse Falls & the Missoula Ice Age Flood" Waymark". Retrieved 15 May 2009.  which states, "More than 12,000 years ago the largest and most powerful scientifically documented freshwater flood to occur on earth happened in the Pacific Northwest. The floodwaters, moving up to 60 miles per hour, created the 198 feet Palouse Falls." So there is some set of sources that indicate the falls drops 198 feet. The Washington State Park site at "Palouse Falls State Park, a Washington State Park". Retrieved 15 May 2009. indicates, " Palouse Falls drops from a height of 200 feet." Two feet in difference may be a rounding effect, or it could reflect different methodologies in establishing the drop (i.e., where it begins & ends or what flow level it is taken at.
None of these are platinum standard resources - a United States Geological Service or similar would be more credible. However these aren't the least credible sources on Google by a long shot (many of the others are mirrors of Wikipedia which used to carry an unreferenced lower height). Amd I doubt the news articles went to original sources in their fact checking either - many of them seemed to use the old Wikipedia height.
I note that when I started this article I cited Carson, Robert J. and Pogue, Kevin R. (1996). Flood Basalts and Glacier Floods:Roadside Geology of Parts of Walla Walla, Franklin, and Columbia Counties, Washington. Washington State Department of Natural Resources (Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Information Circular 90). ISBN none.  for a height of 56 meters (~184 feet). Various edits separated the reference from the data referenced. I do not have that reference handy - need to get it from the library - but if it defines how that was measured, it would be useful.
Regardless, until someone finds a better reference, I'd propose we stick with 198 feet.
Cheeers - Williamborg (Bill) 02:10, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Just added more material on the falls height from a local paper ({{cite news | last = Landers | first = Rich | coauthors = | title = Measuring up to Palouse Falls | newspaper = quoted by tricityherald.com from The Spokesman-Review | location = | pages = | language = | publisher = tricityherald.com | date = 12 September 2009 | url = http://www.tri-cityherald.com/1358/story/713817.html | accessdate =12 September 2009 }) - they cite the work of Bob Carson from Whitman (the same Carson, Robert J. whose 1984 work (Carson, Robert J. and Pogue, Kevin R. (1996). Flood Basalts and Glacier Floods:Roadside Geology of Parts of Walla Walla, Franklin, and Columbia Counties, Washington. Washington State Department of Natural Resources (Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Information Circular 90). ISBN none. ) was previously cited for the 184 foot height). I think this emphasizes several things about the heights of water falls:
  • The reported height - if measured from water surface to water surface - varies by seasonal flow.
  • The reported height can vary depending upon the purpose:
  • If you're interested in how far a kayak dropped from flat water to flat water, you get the height from pool to pool.
  • If you're an engineer designing a hydroelectric system you are interested in the total drop from the beginning of the falls (and the Palouse Falls consists of an upper falls and the lower falls emphasized here) so in this case the total Palouse Falls elevation drop actually begins several hundred yards above the "top pool" to "plunge pool" drop cited here.
So Professor Robert J. Carson's next paper - if he publishes something a little more meaningful than the newspaper account on the height of Palouse Falls - will presumably report on the total falls profile and not just the final drop.
Skål - Williamborg (Bill) 16:24, 12 September 2009 (UTC)