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Nick on the Rocks

Yakima River Canyon

January 19, 2017

The majestic river canyon meanders across the central Washington desert — apparently blasting directly through three large ridges. What came first? The river or the rock?  


Nick Zentner

Nick Zentner is the science outreach and education coordinator for the Department of Geological Sciences at Central Washington University.  He has produced more than 40 short videos about Central Washington geology. Since 2008, Zentner’s colloquial, humorous lectures have made him a popular speaker at educational and civic organizations throughout the Northwest. In 2015, Nick received the prestigious James Shea Award, a National Association of Geoscience Teachers award recognizing exceptional delivery of Earth Science content to the general public.  

More stories by Nick Zentner

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Would love to have these longer to learn even more! 

Thanks Dana.  Hour-long lectures on these topics exist at  Thanks for your interest.

The mini programs are real gems. Keep them coming.

Thanks for your generosity, Darrell.

gmf82's picture

I agree with others. This would make a great series of shows. So much to learn.  

Nice to hear that you've been enjoying them.  Thanks.

Love the video, love the Canyon, would love to see more - thank you!

Thanks for leaving your comments, Dean.

Thanks for this, Nick. I just got back from hiking the Umtanum Ridge and The Yakima Canyon Overlook. I've watched the I-90 Rocks videos a number of times. That was a nice clarification about rivers cutting straight canyons as opposed to the Yakima curving. But still, is it that the river didn't cut through the ridges, or is it that the ridges rose like that?Also, the whole thing about Oregon rotating due to the pressure of the plates in California and Nevada, that takes a bit to conceive of. I got my first hit of that in the I-90 Rocks videos. These shorter videos make these big concepts bite sized. Thanks so much for being such a Rock Star! 

Thanks Dee. The rivers do their own thing long before the ridges grow. 

.... Make me want to be young again and become a geologist like you. I would sighn up for your classes in minute! Facinating stuff! Thanks

Thanks Al. Come visit!

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