South Sound Science: Geogology, the Foundation of South Sound Life

Wendy Gerstel, Qwg Applied Geology, talks about: “Review of South Sound geology and influences on the ecological landscape.”


Instead of fitting into the “threats an indicators” boxes, better to think about geology in materials and processes.

Materials: clay, silt, sand, gravel.

Processes: glaciation, deposition, plate techtonics.

Water is a big part of geology as well. Surface run-off, groundwater and waves, for example.

She also refers back to Charlene’s talk, that this give us an understanding of how things change over time.

Wendy is showing slides that give a picture of the geologic layout of South Sound, the glaciation of the entire Puget Sound (I wish I could show these to you).

Another slide with a map on debris flows. These provided a lot of sediment into Puget Sound drainages.

A lot of the effort from geologists has been put into creating these geologic maps.

Glacial till covers most of the South Sound, with the latest glacial till being, loose sandy till.

Most of the “layering” (that she’s now showing in her picture presentation) are from glacial deposits.

It is important to set a geologic framework to what you’re studying.


Does the Squaxin oral tradition refer to geoglogic events and their impacts?

Wendy answers that while she doesn’t know specifically for the Squaxin Island tribe, there are references.

Jeff Dickison (Charlene Krise has left), there is a time when things were different geologically. For example, there are stories in Squaxin tradition that include salmon running up the Deschutes River above where the lower falls are.