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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
    Northwest Geology Field Trips, by Dave Tucker, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial- Share Alike 3.0 United States License. You can use what you find here, repost it with attribution to the author, "remix" it for your own purposes, but may not use it with the intent of making money off of it.

    EDUCATORS: Please feel free to use anything you find here that is useful to your mission educating people about Earth science. E-mail me if it would help to have a larger or higher-resolution version of any of the images. tuckerd at geol dot wwu dot edu

Calling citizen scientists: Cascade snow survey

Susan Dickerson-Lange (WWU alum) is working toward a PhD at the University of Washington involving snow hydrology and would like your help. Read below.


Are you planning any mountain adventures this spring and summer?  We are looking for help from outdoor enthusiasts to collect snow observations as the snowpack melts across the Pacific Northwest.

We need on-the-ground observations of snow presence in forested and open areas, and are looking for hikers, skiers, snowmobilers, and mountaineers to contribute.

Simply take geotagged photos of snow (or no snow) in adjacent forested and open areas and send them to:


…or submit written observations via an online or paper form.

For information, including about geotagging, and a short training video:


Please spread the word, and contact me if you have any questions or ideas!




Susan Dickerson-Lange

Mobile:  (253) 225-9909

Twitter:  @SDickersonLange

Ph.D. Student, University of Washington

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mountain Hydrology Lab


Glacial Outburst Flood in Middle Fork Nooksack- May 31, 2013


The 'hihg-mud mark' from the glacial outburst flood and debris flow is 20 feet above Bob's head. Click to enlarge.

The ‘high-mud mark’ from the glacial outburst flood and debris flow is 20 feet above Bob’s head. Click to enlarge.

A large flood of sediment and water swept the upper channel of the Middle Fork Nooksack River early in the morning of Friday, May 31. Boulders up to 10′ across were pitched onto a terrace 15′ above water level, and the river channel was buried in mud. A seismometer on Mount Baker picked up the tremor of the debris flow, and the sudden increase in river volume was detected on the stream gage at Nugent’s Corner, 25 miles away, a couple of hours later. The river is still very turbid. A report with photos is posted on the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center blog:



New glacier comparison photo: Boulder Glacier, Mount Baker: 1892-2012

Hassan Basagic, a glacier researcher at Portland State University, has been making a series of comparative photos showing glacial changes in the Cascades. He came across the Loomis-Baker comparison photos taken by E.D. Welsh (1912) and John Scurlock (2012) and posted on the MBVRC website a couple of months ago. Hassan sent the photo below, showing the Boulder Glacier (left side) and Park Glacier (on the right) from 4640′ on Boulder Ridge, which extends eastward from Mount Baker between Boulder and Park Creeks. The upper photo was taken by J.E. Booen (also spelled ‘Boen’ in some documents) during the first ascent of the Boulder Glacier route by the ‘LaConnor Expedition’. Hassan’s documentation says the photo was taken in 1892, but according to John Miles’s account of this ascent in Koma Kulshan (a history of human involvement with Mount Baker), this ascent was made in 1891. Hassan’s photo was taken this past fall (2012). The retreat of the Boulder Glacier is remarkable. It is not possible to measure the length of recession, but the decrease in ice thickness is clearly many tens of meters.

Here’s a link to the earlier post showing glacier comparison photos by Alan Kearney.

1892 ('91?) and 2012 photos of Mount Baker's east flank, showing profound glacial recession. Click to enlarge.

1892 (’91?) and 2012 photos of Mount Baker’s east flank, showing profound glacial recession. Click to enlarge.

Alan Kearney photos document glacial recession in the northern Cascades

Alan Kearney’s photos showing South Cascade Glacier’s retreat, 1981 to 2006. Click to enlarge.

I posted comparison photos last month showing 100 years of glacier recession on the south side of Mount Baker. (The fundraiser posters are still available- go to the preceding link.) My friend Alan Kearney has published similar comparison photos on his photography blog. Alan’s photo pairs show marked changes in glacial extent and thickness in just the past few decades of his mountaineering career. View his photos here: http://alankearneyphotography.blogspot.com/2012/11/local-ice-photographing-cascade-before.html

Much of Alan’s writing deals with photographic technique, which is interesting in itself. If all you want is glacier comparison photos, scroll down. There are several starting midway and going to the end.

100 years of glacial change at Mount Baker; fundraiser poster for sale.

The 1912 Welsh photo at top, and the 2012 Scurlock re-created photo below. Click to enlarge.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center is selling 20 x 30 ” posters showing a fantastic 1912 photo of the entire south side of Mount Baker, and the re-created photograph taken by John Scurlock 100 years later. The photos were taken from the summit of Loomis Mountain, south of the volcano and show much detail. Glacial recession is remarkable. Hop on over to the MBVRC website to see the poster, see some details about changes that 100 years have wrought, and learn how to order one. PLEASE PASS THIS POST TO OTHERS to help raise funds for a good cause- the MBVRC research and scholarship fund.


King Tides – request for photo documentation

January 23, 2011 - 9.6' king tide at the mouth of Whatcom Creek, Bellingham. December 2011 kings will be the same height.

Washington State Department of Ecology is asking citizens to submit photos taken at high tide during the upcoming ‘King Tides’ – the winter highs. The system used last year appears to have been improved and simplified. Use the DOE’s time table to determine the times and dates. The idea is to document high water now, which will serve as a reference baseline as climate change raises sea level. If the weather is blustery, tides may be even higher as winds pile water against shorelines.

Go to the Department of Ecology’s King Tide website for instructions. Find when to take your photos, and come up with a good site you would like to document at the time of highest tides. Take the photos, and then upload them to the King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr Group (photo storage and display) page. If you visit the Flickr page, you can search for specific locations to see where photos were taken last winter during this event. The most practical sites are those that have ‘improvements’, or where something is in the works, vs a wilderness or undeveloped shoreline.

Geotagging photos

Last year, many people could not upload there photos because they had not been geo-tagged [assigned coordinates using GPS], or the Flickr website did not recognize tagged photos and rejected them. An example is the one above. A new system is in place this year which may fix this problem, by allowing you to drag your uploaded photo to the proper location on a map on the Flickr site. Note- you must have, or make, a Flickr, Google, or Yahoo account to do this. Full instructions are on the King Tide website. They say this:

“3.Add your photos to this group! Watch these great tutorials created by British Columbia to learn how to upload photos to Flickr, how to “geotag” them (identify where the photo was taken using Flickr’s map) and how to add them to a Flickr group. ‘