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Okanogan terrane docks against North American continent 100 million years ago.

About 100 million years ago, in the late Mesozoic Era, the Okanogan terrane (microcontinent) docks against the North American continent. This collision adds to the land mass of North America and exten...

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Retreating glaciers create Puget Sound and Grand Coulee as the Ice Age ends about 15,000 years ago.

About 15,000 years ago, the Vashon glacier begins to melt and recede from lands that will come to be known as the Puget Sound region and the Columbia Basin region. By 11,000 years ago, the glacier has...

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Salmon colonize the Puget lowland about 14,900 years ago.

Beginning about 14,900 years ago, salmon begin to colonize Puget Sound. During the last ice age, when a 3,000-foot-thick glacier moved out of Canada and traveled as far south as Olympia, no salmon, or...

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Modern plant communities in the Puget lowland begin to thrive around 7,000 years ago.

Beginning about 7,000 years ago, the climate become more like the modern era, relatively wetter and cooler than in the previous 3,000 years. With this change the ecosystems of the Puget lowland began ...

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Osceola Mudflow from Mount Rainier inundates the White River Valley approximately 5,600 years ago.

Approximately 5,600 years ago, a massive landslide removes .7 cubic miles of earth from the summit of Mount Rainier. The ensuing mudflow, which spreads as far as modern-day Kent, is called the Osceola...

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Landslide blocks the Columbia River in about 1450.

In about 1450, an immense landslide tumbles off Table Mountain in Skamania County and completely blocks the Columbia River, shoving it a mile off course. A lake forms behind the dam extending as far a...

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Earthquake of enormous magnitude hits the Pacific Northwest coast on January 26, 1700.

On January 26, 1700, at about 9:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time a gigantic earthquake occurs 60 to 70 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast. The quake violently shakes the ground for three to five minut...

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European horses arrive on the Columbia plateau in the early 1700s.

In the early 1700s, European horses arrive on the Columbian plateau, having moved north through tribal trade networks from Pueblo villages located in present-day New Mexico. The Plateau tribes, who fo...

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Tlehonnipts (those who drift ashore) become first European residents of Northwest lands near Satsop Spit (mouth of the Columbia) in about 1725.

In about 1725, Clatsops discover shipwrecked sailors whom they call Tlehonnipts (those who drift ashore) on a beach near Satsop Spit, which was located on the southern (Oregon) side of the mouth of th...

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Juan Perez and his crew on Spanish ship Santiago sight and name Mount Olympus on August 11, 1774.

On August 11, 1774, Spanish explorers on the ship Santiago, commanded by Juan Perez, sail past the future state of Washington, sight the peak that will later be named Mount Olympus, and name it "Cerro...

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Bruno de Hezeta (Heceta) party lands on future Washington coast and claims the Pacific Northwest for Spain on July 12, 1775.

On July 12, 1775, Bruno de Hezeta, Juan Perez, and others from the Spanish ship Santiago land on the shore of a wide bay and claim Nueva Galicia (the Pacific Northwest) for Spain. This is the first Eu...

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Smallpox epidemic ravages Native Americans on the northwest coast of North America in the 1770s.

During the 1770s, smallpox (variola major) eradicates at least 30 percent of the native population on the Northwest coast of North America, including numerous members of Puget Sound tribes. This appa...

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