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    Visit Mount Baker Volcano Research Center websites Main website and the blog These are no longer actively maintained but are still good references [DT, April, 2020]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

New Geology hiking guide published on this website: Ridley Creek Trail, Mount Baker

Link to Ridley Creek Trail geology guide:

https://nwgeology.wordpress.com/the-fieldtrips/ridley-creek-trail-geology-guide/

Foot bridge over the Middle Fork

Foot bridge over the Middle Fork

Ridley Creek Trail begins at the end of the Middle Fork Nooksack Road on the southwest flank of Mount Baker. The trail accesses the heather meadows of Mazama Park and on to Park Butte Lookout. Along the way see forested latest Pleistocene moraines, glacial till from Canada complete with quartzite pebbles from the Rocky Mountains, limestone, lahar and ash deposits, a close up of the Cathedral Crag lava that predates Mount Baker, and finally, great views of Baker, the Black Buttes, and that enigmatic slice of the mantle, the Twin Sisters Range. Read the geology guide here.  Enjoy!

Dave Tucker

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.

Middle Fork Nooksack debris flows- another one, and an update

The Middle Fork has cut 10 m through the May 31 debris flow. Click to enlarge.

The Middle Fork has cut 10 m through the May 31 debris flow. Click to enlarge.

There is a description of ongoing dramatic changes to the new debris flow deposits in the Middle Fork Nooksack over on the MBVRC blog. There has been a second debris flow, on June 6th.

Debris flow update: http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/more-debris-flows-in-middle-fork/

Comparative YouTube videos. June 9th  video shows major changes in only four days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cepN93zOY8

Compare with the June 5th YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vVJPPwLgwM

More on Middle Fork Nooksack debris flow

By Dave Tucker  June 7, 2013

Photo by John Scurlock. Explanation on the link to today's MBVRC blog post.

Photo by John Scurlock. Explanation on the link to today’s MBVRC blog post.

The source of the debris flow in the Middle Fork Nooksack River is now believed to be a large landslide rather than a glacial outburst flood. This is based on new aerial photos provided by John Scurlock and Steph Abegg. The updated post is on the MBVRC blog.

There is video I made when I visited the deposits two days ago. See it here on YouTube. Shows the extent of the debris flow deposit at the Ridley Creek ford.

And another YouTube video shows a volcanic debris flow [a.k.a. ‘lahar’] raging down a valley in Indonesia. It is probably similar to the Middle Fork flow, except considerably smaller.

There will be another visit to the deposit Sunday AM early by a geologic team to begin serious study of the deposits and to try to begin estimating volume, velocity and other parameters of the May 31 debris flow. There will probably be an update posted on the MBVRC blog, so if you don’t already subscribe to it, consider doing so.

Debris flow video- MUST SEE

If you like watching video of dynamic geologic events, watch this one!

It shows a debris flow in a channel pulsing through the Austrian mountain town of Virgen following heavy rain in late August, 2012, and is incredible. Watch for large floating boulders, carried along on the dense flow of sediment. This is one of the top debris flow videos ever made, on a par with the one made by Kevin Scott of the USGS when he was working in the Jangjia Ravine in China.

The Austrian video comes our way from the Landslide Blog, always worth checking out.