Paleohydrology of Late Pleistocene Superflooding, Altay Mountains, Siberia

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Science  15 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5093, pp. 348-350
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5093.348


Cataclysmic flooding is a geomorphological process of planetary significance. Landforms of flood origin resulted from late Pleistocene ice-dammed lake failures in the Altay Mountains of south-central Siberia. Peak paleoflows, which exceeded 18 x 106 cubic meters per second, are comparable to the largest known terrestrial discharges of freshwater and show a hydrological scaling relation to floods generated by catastrophic dam failures. These seem to have been Earth's greatest floods, based on a variety of reconstructed paleohydraulic parameters.