Evolution of the Puget Lowland, last 20,000 years

Animation of the advance and retreat of the last great glaciation in the Puget Lowland is available on the Burke Museum’s YouTube channel. Thanks to reader ‘Deb’ who notified me that the link in the ‘Lake Stevens Erratic- the largest in the US?’ page was broken. It’s been repaired. The animation is based on a model by Ralph Haugerud of the USGS- see the very end of the animation for full credits. Unfortunately, the model is only for Puget Sound, and does not include the San Juan Islands or points north. The source of the glacial lobe is not shown- the interior of British Columbia, the BC Coast Mountains, and the Canadian Rockies. The diagram shows the bigger picture, which has a chapter on glacial erratics, and another on the history of glaciations in the lowlands of western Washington.


Diagram from my book,Geology Underfoot in Western Washington showing sources and paths of ice related to the Vashon Lobe. The glacial tongue reached its maximum extent south of Olympia around 16,000 years ago.

This animation is a bit different from the original. This one shows events in the Lowlands following retreat of the Vashon glacial lobe, such as the Osceola Lahar from Mount Rainier 5600 years ago that reached the salt water Duwamish Embayment near Auburn, and local rebound of the crust from the weight of the ice.

If anyone finds broken links anywhere on this website. please notify me by way of a comment on the page. If you know if a replacement link, please include that.

Book talk- Geology Underfoot in Western Washington

GUWW cover

Next book presentation by Dave Tucker*:

Camano Island Library

Saturday, April 21: 10:00am – 12:00pm

848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island, WA 98282

Directions here.

*Yes, alive and well.

Snohomish and Tacoma Geology Underfoot Book talks

A reminder that I will be in Snohomish this Saturday, Feb. 20, and in Tacoma next Thursday, Feb. 25, to talk about Geology Underfoot in Western Washington.

SNOHOMISH Saturday February 20th, 2 PM, Sno-Isle Public Library, 311 Maple Ave., Snohomish, WA

TACOMA Thursday February 25 Kings Book Store, 218 St Helens Ave Tacoma, WA. 7 PM http://www.kingsbookstore.com/event/2016-02


Book Presentation in Edmonds September 14

I will be giving a talk about my book, Geology Underfoot in Western Washington on September 14 in Edmonds.

7 PM

Edmonds Senior Center

220 Railroad Ave.

 On the waterfront in Edmonds, directly across the street from the AmTrak station. There is some off-street parking at the Center, and there is elevator access. This is the montly meeting of the Ice Age floods Institute. Free and open to the public.

I will have copies for sale, $24. Also copies of the cover poster, $15. See you there!



Reminder- Olympia presentation, Geology Underfoot in Western Washington

Friends, I hope to meet my South Sound friends  at Orca Books in Olympia on July 24. I’ll tell a bit of the backstory of my book, Geology Underfoot in Western Washngton, and signing copies. 7:00 PM. http://www.orcabooks.com/event/friday-july-24th-700pm-dave-tucker-author-geology-underfoot-western-washington There will be books available to purchase at the talk, as well as the large color poster based on the cover art, showing a future eruption of Mount Rainier and the downstream effects.

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington Book Launch a big success!

A very belated but very hearty thanks to all who came to the standing-room-only Grand Book Launch event May 12 at the Whatcom Museum, sponsored by Village Books, North Cascades Institute, and the Museum. It was a great pleasure to share Geology Underfoot in Western Washington with the huge crowd, sign copies, and tell you a bit about my background, how the book came about and how I put it together. Village Books sold out their entire advance shipment. The rest of the print run is on its way across the Pacific and will be available for bookstores at the end of May. NOW IS THE TIME TO ORDER A COPY FROM YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSTORE! The store will obtain copies via their distributors. Some sources tell me that advance sales are pretty brisk. The initial print run is 5000 copies. Mountain Press Publishing and I think the first printing will go fast, so don’t delay.

I am available for presentations at bookstores and your organizations throughout western Washington and down to Portland. Contact your bookstore, and drop me an email.

Best regards,

Dave Tucker

Here is a link to an article about me and the book by Dean Kahn that appeared in the May 18 Bellingham Herald:


Cover art for Geology Underfoot in Western Washington

GUWW cover. Painting by Eric Knight.

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington cover art. Painting by Eric Knight. Click for full size image file.

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington has gone to the printers, and should be on store shelves the end of April or early May. Start bugging you local bookstore to get orders in now. Here’s the book’s cover. It is an oblique view of Mount Rainier during a moderate eruption, made by Eric Knight, and is modeled in part on the 500-year-old Electron lahar. Eric painted the bird’s-eye-view in an arc looking from the north  to the southeast, from the Tacoma Tideflats around to the erupting volcano. There is a lot of detail. Look closely and you will see lahars descending the northwest and western flanks into the Mowich and Puyallup River valleys. The boiling cloud of a pyroclastic flow is on the right, covering the Tahoma Glacier. The lahars coalesce and inundate the Puyallup valley. That’s Lake Kapowsin at lower right. A short distance downstream from the lake, the lahar passes through the center of Orting, which appears seriously damaged and on toward Puyallup and Tacoma. The lahar would likely have a much reduced sediment load by this point, and be more of a hyperconcentrated flow- predominantly extremely muddy water rather than a dense slug of mud. The muddy flow enters Puget Sound at Commencement Bay, having sloshed mud and water all over the Tacoma tideflats industrial area. Suspended sediment has discolored Puget Sound most of the way to Elliot Bay at Seattle. There’s not enough detail in this image to tell, but I-5 appears intact where it crosses the Puyallup. In this hypothetical eruption, no lahar has entered the White River valley so the Auburn-Kent-Duwamish area has been spared.

ERic Knight's art showing a glacier-filled Yosemite Valley on the cover of Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park by Allen Glazner and Greg Stock.

ERic Knight’s art showing a glacier-filled Yosemite Valley on the cover of Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park by Allen Glazner and Greg Stock.

Erik also did the cover art for Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park. He makes wonderful panoramic maps. Visit his website to see a fine panoramic painting of the Salish Sea. It is interactive, so you can zoom in, pan very different perspectives. The tool bar at the bottom includes a ‘help’ button for instructions.

Book chapter title: Thanks for all your ideas!

A blizzard of your serious, and funny, suggestions for the Geology Underfoot in Western Washington chapter about golden Horn granite at Washington Pass. If you have an idea and haven’t contributed yet, get going! I will be sending my final revisions to the editor on December 1 to begin the publication process.

Thanks to all!


Welcome new subscribers

January 1, 2014. Happy New Year!

A nice sight in the gloom of a NW winter. Franks Beach on Lummi Island.

A nice sight in the gloom of a NW winter. West Beach on Lummi Island.

Many thanks and a big welcome to the 154 people who have subscribed to this website in the past year. There are now 538 subscribers. Posts have not been very frequent because I put most of my writing energy this year into finishing my book, Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. But, the book has gone to the editor at Mountain Press Publishing (Missoula), and should be out in Fall of 2014. You’ll certainly get the good news as the publication date nears. While I’m waiting for the editor to get back to me, I continue to write another, with the working title of  Road and Trail Guide to Mount Baker Geology. But, I promise to add more field trips to the blog in 2014.

Readers are encouraged to send in their own geology field trip guides, or suggest good places for me to visit in Washington and British Columbia- perhaps in your company. Send a comment to the blog, or an email directly to me. Winter has arrived in the high country, so let’s focus on the lowlands for now. A Victoria, BC field trip submitted by Gerri McEwen will be posted in the next few days. If you know of a place in the mountains, go ahead and let me know why it seems interesting (with your photos) and I’ll try to get to it next summer. Even better, you write it up! Also, if you come across any good field trip guides, send the info so I can add it to the “Guides, Books and Maps” page.

email address to send reports and photos. I'll credit you.

email address to send reports and photos. I’ll credit you. This is not a link.

There were 85,000 visits to the website in 2013. The most popular page on the website in 2013 was a tutorial on sedimentary structure (strike and dip of beds). That one had over 4200 hits. I think many students find it in the course of school projects. And many people checked out the trip guide to the Nooksack ‘Gold Mine’ near Sumas, in Whatcom County. The most popular topic of all time on this website remains the story of Diatryma, the giant flightless bird whose 10-inch footprints were found in the Chuckanut Formation in 2009, and put on display at WWU’s geology museum in 2010. (Over 10,100 site visits to date).

A request- when you take one of the field trips on the blog, please drop me a note via comment and let me know how it turned out. Especially let me know if road or trail names have been changed or are labeled differently, if trails are washed out or rerouted, if you couldn’t find what I tried to direct you toward, if my description was inaccurate. I’ll do my best to update things.  But, please, at minimum, tell me you went.

MBVRC field trip to Baker Lake during draw down.

MBVRC field trip to Baker Lake during drawdown. Great geology!

So enjoy the next year’s ramblings from your scribe. Visit two other blogs I moderate: the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center’s is http://mbvrc.wordpress.com. MBVRC occasionally offers fundraiser geology field trips oriented toward folks just like you. The best way to stay posted is to subscribe to the blog. And, a blog for die-hard cross-country skiers in the Chuckanut hills: http://chuckanutcrosscountryskiing.wordpress.com/


Geology Underfoot: BOOK SENT TO PUBLISHER!

DT and the Geology Underfoot in Western Washington files. You will get to read it on paper, soemthing I've yet to see.

DT and the Geology Underfoot in Western Washington files- all on one flimsy bit of plastic. You will get to read it on paper, something I’ve yet to see. Chico stands guard my monitor. Photo by Kim Brown.

I finally completed the manuscript of Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. The sum of the last three years of my life was copied onto a DVD and sent off to the publisher today – 423 files including chapter text, photos, diagrams, and maps. There are (at this point) 22 self-guiding field trips, plus a lengthy Introduction that is a primer on plate tectonics, a capsule history of the geologic history of western Washington, a bit about petrology, and how to date a rock (“You need to be a little boulder” says Kim.) Groan. I promise I do not use that pun in the book, but there may be a few other gneiss ones. (Sorry). OK, now my editor James Lainsbury at Mountain Press Publishers gets to hack away. He’ll send it back to me for what I’m sure will be shortening, revisions to some of the figures I made, and who knows what else. The book will be on bookshelves in 2014 unless James says ‘This sucks. Start over.’ Thanks to all the people, geologists and ‘civilians’ alike, who read and field checked the chapters.

You can read a sample chapter (pre-editing) and learn more about the book here on my website.

So, time for a beer. Well, maybe a nap first.