• Your EMAIL ADDRESS is never used for ANY purpose except to send you updates. EVER!!!!!!

    Join 1,181 other followers

  • MOUNT BAKER: Eruptive history, hazards, research.

    Visit Mount Baker Volcano Research Center websites Main website and the blog These are no longer actively maintained but are still good references [DT, April, 2020]
  • Most recent posts

  • This website first appeared December 6, 2009

    • 770,926 hits
  • Feel free to use the material on these pages.

    Creative Commons License
    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

Sign up for Geology Field Trip to Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands

May 14th, 8:30-4:30

TRIP IS FULL. THERE IS A WAITING LIST. To get the earliest crack at future trips, please subscribe to MBVRC RSS posts via email- in the margin to the left.


The view from Mount Erie, once a magma chamber below an oceanic volcano.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center announces a guided geology field trip. This is a geologic smorgasbord, with stops near Anacortes on Fidalgo Island including ophiolite rock at Washington Park, Mount Erie’s drive-up summit, Rosario Beach and Rosario Head, and Deception Pass. Proceeding to  Whidbey Island we will visit at a minimum West Beach and an ill-sited development on the beach at Swantown.  The trip will be led by Doug McKeever, geology professor (emeritus) at Whatcom Community College, assisted by Dave Tucker, Research Associate with Western Washington University Geology Department and author of Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. Both are board members of MBVRC. COST is $75 per person (prepaid). Proceeds go to the MBVRC research fund.


Doug McKeever and field trippers examine rock structure.

Van transportation will be provided, and a printed guide describing the most important geologic features of the stops. No hammers, please. Please bring a lunch, beverage (no alcohol please), and shoes and clothing suitable for a short beach walk and for the weather. Trip will “go” rain or shine.

13786 Washington Pk

Glacially polished mantle rock at Washington Park

Credit card: please go to the MBVRC donation page and put $75 in the ‘donation amount’ at the top [please feel free to contribute more, donations are tax deductible]. Make payment to the MBVRC account using our email: research  at  mbvrc.wwu.edu You don’t need a Paypal account to do this.

Check: If you prefer to pay MBVRC directly, please send a check right away to order of MBVRC to 708 13th St, Bellingham, WA 98225. If you choose this option, please reserve via email immediately to research  at   mbvrc.wwu.edu. Will hold your spot as long as we can while your check is in transit.

This is a repeat of a trip we sponsored in spring of 2014. That trip filled very quickly so don’t delay to sign up!


Guided geology field trip to Schreibers Meadow cinder cone

The NCI field trip to Schreibers Meadow cinder cone is booked up.


Dave Tucker

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center subscription website

The bushwack up to the cinder cone rim. Click to enlarge. The bushwack up to the cinder cone rim. Click to enlarge.

North Cascades Institute is offering a guided geology field trip to the 9500-year-old Schreibers Meadow cinder cone on the south flank of Mount Baker. The trip will be led by MBVRC’s Dave Tucker. The date is July 6th, and costs $95. Register at the NCI website:


The Schreibers cone is the only one in the Mount Baker volcanic field. It is located in old growth forest at 3500 feet elevation in Schreibers Meadow, just 1/2 mile from the end of the road. The trip will walk a short distance along the Park Butte/Railroad Grade trail, then veer off cross country (huckleberry meadow and some ponds) before the final 130′ climb up a steep forested slope to the crater rim. We’ll walk down to the soggy shores of the two crater lakes, and up to the opposite rim. After…

View original post 144 more words

Geology Field Trip gift certificates from MBVRC

Cross country trip to Schreibers Cinder Cone.

Cross-country trip to Schreibers Cinder Cone.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center is offering gift certificates for geology field trips.  These make great gifts for your geophile friends and relatives. The cost  is $75 (the usual cost of a one day guided trip, including van transport) and can be applied to any field trip offered by MBVRC. This year there are plans to offer  trips to lowland sites in Northwest Washington in the late winter/early spring. In the summer, trips will go to locations around Mount Baker , and a multi-day trip to Mount St. Helens is in the early planning stages.

To purchase a gift certificate, send an email or letter to MBVRC. Include  the name of the person the certificate is for, as well as your mailing address. You may send payment via check payable to ‘MBVRC’ to  708 13th St, Bellingham, or use the MBVRC PayPal account – the account code is this email address:

this is not a link

You will receive a nicely printed gift certificate in the mail. Field trip fees beyond expenses go to the MBVRC research and education fund. To see brief descriptions of some  past geology field trips, scroll down here: http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/field-trips/

Field guide to Iceberg Point (Lopez Island, San Juans) geology

Quartz veins crosscutting the sheared sandstone at Iceberg Point. As always, click to enlarge the photo.

White quartz veins cross-cut sheared sandstone at Iceberg Point. As always, click to enlarge the photo.

I have at long last published a new geology guide on the Northwest Geology Field Trips website. This one visits Iceberg Point, the beautiful and wild southwest tip of Lopez island out in the San Juans. Your visit to Iceberg Point requires a pleasant nearly-level stroll of around 2 miles (round trip). The geologic guide visits rocks sheared by subduction and accretion and the unconformity between those rocks and the overlying till. Plus, it just a great place for a day trip.

I have been distracted for months (years!) getting Geology Underfoot in Western Washington written and sent off to the editor. I visited more places for the book than I could submit to the publisher, and this is one of the ones I had to omit. It remains a great geo-trip. Wish I could have written more than one volume, but the publishers were having none of that. Sigh. So, I’m going to gradually put some of the ‘deleted’ book vignettes on this website. Thanks to all subscribers to this website; you have apparently been patient during this long hiatus. Don’t go away!


Geology field trip offered near Monroe, Washington

NWGS logo


The Northwest Geological Society’s annual fall field trip will visit the Cadman High Rock Quarry near Monroe, Washington. This is a large rock and sand quarry with outstanding exposures of the Volcanic Rocks of Mt. Persis and 107 ka river deposits of the Whidbey Formation with a glacial till below it. We will observe striking evidence of sub-glacial flow and the full range of Vashon glacial units, and look at faults and liquefaction related to the Southern Whidbey Island Fault (SWIF). The field trip will involve walking several miles through the quarry.

Saturday, November 16, 2013
9:45am–3:00 pm
Leader: Bruce Stoker, Earth Systems and High Rock Quarry Personnel
Location: Cadman High Rock Quarry
Address: 19221 High Rock Road, Monroe, WA. 98272

Please RSVP by sending an email to Kathleen.goodman@amec.com.  For important trip information and a trip description, visit the NWGS website:   http://nwgs.org/calendar/NWGS_Fall_2013_FT_Announcement.pdf for details on times, parking, attire, and most important, post-quarry recap at the Grange Cafe in Duvall.  Cost is $10 payable at the quarry.

Advance registration is required for official head count for the quarry. NO WALK-UPS, PLEASE.
Deadline:Thursday, November 14.
Payment: Please bring your $10 payment (cash or check made out to NWGS, no credit or debit cards) to the field
trip for collection at the quarry office.
This is a one-stop field trip. Transportation will not be provided. We will meet at the Cadman High Rock Quarry office (address and a link to directions above).The trip will start with a required 20-minute safety training session in the quarry office. Please do not be late, as the course is required for all to enter the quarry.
The field trip will involve walking several miles through the quarry.

Guided geology trip to Ptarmigan Ridge, Mount Baker

Mount Baker and Rainbow Glacier from Ptarmigan Glacier.

Mount Baker and Rainbow Glacier from Ptarmigan Glacier.

There are three spaces left on North Cascade Institute’s guided geology hike [led by yours truly] to the volcanic wonders along the Ptarmigan Ridge trail. This traverses the high country between Mount Baker and Artist’s Point at the end of the Baker Highway.

Sunday, September 29 Rendezvous in Glacier at 8 AM. An all day hike, about 6 miles round trip, 500′ elevation gain/loss. $95 includes bus from Glacier.

Sign up info here:


Here’s the NCI blurb:

Experience time travel by foot on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail in Mount Baker’s radiant late-summer high country. Our field excursion will begin above tree line at Artist’s Point at the end of the Mount Baker Highway before venturing out toward the simmering, glaciated volcano herself. Along the way, we’ll travel over ancient records of volcanism as we traverse the 1-million-year-old Kulshan caldera, a giant volcano that erupted cataclysmically through a continental ice sheet long before Mount Baker built itself from stacks of lava.

As we hike past lava domes that erupted shortly after the caldera collapsed, we’ll lay hands on much younger columnar andesite that still predates Mount Baker, discuss the origin of the eroded table at Table Mountain, and examine layers of volcanic ash preserved in the soil, including the famous Mount Mazama/Crater Lake layer.

Dave is a leading geological expert on the Mount Baker region and will share his intimate knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the area. He’ll interpret the story of this landscape as evidenced in its rocks and ash.

Sign up for geology trip- Ptarmigan Ridge, Mount Baker

We'll learn how platey jointing and columnar jointing forms.

We’ll learn how platy jointing and columnar jointing form.

The view west from the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail.

The view west from the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail.

Dave Tucker will lead a one-day geology hike on Ptarmigan Ridge, near the Mount Baker Ski Area. The trip is organized by North Cascades Institute.

September 29, all day. $95 includes trip guide and transport from Glacier Ranger Station.

This hike will explore the gorgeous volcanic landscape on the east side of Mount Baker- Kulshan caldera ash flow tuff, post-caldera rhyolite domes, Table Mountain and Ptarmigan Ridge lava flows, volcanic ash deposits (Baker and Crater Lake). Mount Shuksan is just east of us, so we can also discuss terrane accretion. The hike is above tree line on the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, elevation gain is around 500 feet, total round trip distance of 10 miles but probably less. There are 6 spaces left for this trip. The September 28 trip is full.

NCI website for the trip: http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/mount-baker-the-story-of-volcanoes-ii-ph

Registration: http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/mount-baker-the-story-of-volcanoes-ii-ph/program-registration

Questions? Contact NCI, or Dave Tucker directly.

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

this is not a link

Guided geology field trip by Dave Tucker: Baker River trail June 8th

Dear friends,

An alluvial fan is perfectly exposed in cross section along the Baker River trail.

An alluvial fan is perfectly exposed in cross-section along the Baker River trail.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center is offering a field trip up the Baker River on June 8th. It is a fundraiser for the non-profit, and I’ll be leading it, along with Doug McKeever (Whatcom Community College) and Sue Madsen (Skagit Fisheries Enhancement).

Highlights include:

  • Shuksan greenschist (metamorphosed subducted seafloor basalt) which is the local bedrock;
  • new salmon restoration facilities;
  • an active alluvial fan;
  • river erosion and deposition;
  • a great variety of rocks in river bars;
  • rock slides;
  • a fantastic ‘faerie forest’ of lichen-draped maples.
  • If the weather be good- fabulous views into the heart of the North Cascades.

Cost is $75, includes van transport and a trip guide.

For info and registration, go to:


An unnamed waterfall plummets hundreds of feet over a wall of metamorphic bedrock along the trail. Click to enlarge any photo.

An unnamed waterfall plummets hundreds of feet over a wall of metamorphic bedrock along the trail. Click to enlarge any photo.

Geology field trips offered by North Cascades Institute

I will be leading three field courses on behalf of North Cascades Institute in late summer of 2013.Also, my friend David Williams will lead an urban geology tour in Seattle.

Migmatite in the Diablo Overlook road cut? What's 'maigmatite'? Sign up to find out!

Migmatite in the Diablo Overlook road cut. What’s ‘migmatite’? Sign up to find out!

August 9-11: GEOLOGY OF THE NORTH CASCADES: CROSS SECTION THROUGH THE CRUST. This course will be based out of the NCI Environmental Learning Center at Diablo Lake. Over three days we will examine different sites along Highway 20 from Sedro Woolley to Washington Pass. Meals and lodging at the Learning Center.

Kuslhan caldera, Mount Baker, and Table Mountain volcanics can all be examined along the Ptarmigan Trail.

Kulshan caldera, Mount Baker, and Table Mountain volcanics can all be examined along the Ptarmigan Trail.

September 28 and repeated on September 29: MOUNT BAKER: THE STORY OF VOLCANOES I AND II. I will lead a one day hike along Ptarmigan Ridge on the east flank of Mount Baker.We will look at volcanic deposits from the Kulshan caldera, pre-Mount Baker andesite volcanoes, and young Baker itself. These two hikes will fill up VERY QUICKLY so register right now if you are interested.

In downtown Seattle, see 3.5 billion year old Morton gneiss, probably the oldest building stone in the world!

In downtown Seattle, see 3.5 billion year old Morton gneiss, probably the oldest building stone in the world!

Also on September 28, David Williams leads ‘Street Smart Naturalist’. This will be a walking tour of downtown geology. highly regarded and a must for Seattle residents interested in geology.

Registration and descriptions for all these programs begins at the NCI geology webpage.

Guided geology field trip offered: Rafting the Owyhee River in Oregon.

Ouzel Outfitters, a river guiding company in Bend, OR, is working with Dr. Kyle House (USGS) to host a 5-day Geology Rafting Field Trip through the lower Owyhee Canyon in south east Oregon.

The trip dates are April 19-23, 2013.

In the deep canyon, carved in rhyolite and basalt. Photo from Ouzel Outfitters.

According to Brian Sykes, proprietor of Ouzel Outfitters, highlights include hiking, photography, natural hot springs, an isolated river canyon, expert geology interpretation, and petroglyphs. Kyle House said this of the Owyhee: “This is possibly the most consistently amazing place that I have ever been lucky enough to work in. I will keep coming back…”.

The Owyhee canyon and the breached lava dams was the site of this year’s Friends of the Pleistocene field trip. The guide book can be downloaded here: https://sites.google.com/site/owyheefop/home/guidebook     (Bonus: you can also download the FOP songbook! Funny songs!)

I’ve included links below for information about this trip. Ouzel Outfitters provides this description of the geologic features on this trip:

“Between Rome and Birch Creek, Oregon, the Owyhee River passes through an astounding landscape born of a long series of geologic calamities. Among these are a series of massive, valley-choking lava flows; a nearly endless array of valley-flanking landslides; and huge flood-generated boulder bars that record the effects of catastrophic floods, landslide-dam failures and even the overflow of an ice-age lake that once sat in the Alvord Desert at the base of Steens Mountain. Over the last 2 million years, the Owyhee Canyon has been invaded by no less than six valley-filling lava flows. The lavas poured down its tributaries and over its canyon rim creating massive dams. Spectacular examples of the lava dams are abundant along this reach of the river, including towering cliffs of lava 100s of meters high; spectacular lava deltas that record the advance of the lava flows into large lakes of their own creation; and a series of ancient riverbeds below each lava flow that chronicle the Owyhee’s inexorable journey to the bottom of its modern gorge. The Owyhee lava dams were immense, some measuring 10s of kilometers in downstream length. At least some of them blocked the river for up to 20,000 years at a time. Once the Owyhee had filled the lakes with sediment and begun to carve its ultimate path around or through the dams, it generated huge landslides as it impinged on new valley walls, often resulting in landslide dams and short-lived lakes that failed catastrophically and moved huge boulders downstream.”

Camp scene on the Owyhee. Photo from Ouzel Outfitters.

Registration is limited to 14 people.  Kyle House and five river guides will give feel of a small personalized tour of fantastic geology, with one-on-one interaction and in-depth presentation.  If you register before the end of December, Ouzel is offering 2012 pricing.  In this case, the price would be $1029.00.

This page gives the quoted description above, plus a link to photos and a video:


This page provides details and reservation information for the field trip:


Rafts on the Owyhee. Photo from Ouzel Outfitters.

An abstract of a paper in the GSA Bulletin describing the lava dams is here:


and a geologic map is here: http://owyheeflotsam.posterous.com/