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  • MOUNT BAKER: Eruptive history, hazards, research.

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    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

Guided geology field trip to Schreibers Meadow cinder cone

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

MBVRC WILL OFFER A VERSION OF THIS TRIP LATER IN THE SUMMER. PLEASE STAY TUNED to the MBVRC blog: mbvrc.wordpress.com.

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:

http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/volcanoes-legacy-in-cinder-cones-and-crater-lakes

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…

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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

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.

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

NEWS ITEM

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:

http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/large-debris-flow-in-middle-fork-nooksack-river-may-31-2013/

 

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.

Mount Baker eruption history and hazard presentation schedule: Mount Vernon, Concrete, Anacortes

Three presentations about Mount Baker eruptive history and hazards are scheduled for this spring.

March 7: MOUNT VERNON Skagit Valley College, Phillip Tarro Theatre. Doors 6:30, talk 7 PM. Sponsored by SVC Veterans Club and Center for Learning & Teaching. This is a repeat of the january 31 event, which drew far too many people to get in the doors. GET THERE EARLY.

March 21: CONCRETE at the Concrete Theatre. 7PM. Fundraising event for MBVRC, Concrete High School Band, and KSVU Radio. There will probably be an admission charge at the door- stay tuned via your subscription to this website or the MBVRC blog www.mbvrc.wordspress.com.

April 27: ANACORTES. Fidalgo Bay Resort. One of several presentations at the Fidalgo Bay Academy. Sponsored by Skagit Beach Watchers. Pre-registration to the Academy will be required, watch here for details.

As usual, the MBVRC t-shirts will be available for purchase, $20.

Mount Baker presentation Thursday in Mount Vernon

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center presents a free talk on Mount Baker Eruptive History and Hazards in Mount Vernon this Thursday, January 31. The presenter will be Dave Tucker.

Skagit Valley College, Phillip Tarro Auditorium

Doors open at 6:30, talk begins at 7. All ages. These popular talks often are SRO, so get there early.

The talk is sponsored by Skagit-Mount Vernon Kiwanis Club and Skagit Valley College Center for Learning and Teaching.

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.