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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

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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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:

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

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.

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/

 

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 change on Mount Baker featured in Nov. 5th Bellingham Herald

Bellingham Herald Nov 5, 2012. Click to enlarge

Read the Bellingham Herald article (front page, above the fold in the ‘hard copy’) about the two Mount Baker photos taken 100 years apart. The 1912 photo was taken by E.D. Welsh, the 2012 photo by John Scurlock.

The commemorative posters are for sale by MBVRC as  a fundraiser for the research program.

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.

Dave

Virtual geology field trip: Cougar Divide

Acres of flowers and meadows on the crest of Cougar Divide. Did I say I like this hike? The snow fingers mark the Dobbs Creek headwaters, site of many dikes. Copyright Dave Tucker.

I have broken out of my writing doldrums and written a self-guided geology field trip to Cougar Divide on the north flank of Mount Baker. Figure I better provide people with a summertime hike before it is too late! This hike is mostly volcanic geology that long predates Mount Baker. In fact, the oldest dated rock in the Mount Baker volcanic field is found on the ridge crest. That alone makes this beautiful hike significant.

Read the field trip here.

Guided Geology Field Trip: Scott Paul Trail, Mount Baker, August 28.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center announces a guided geology field trip on the Scott Paul Trail, guided by Dave Tucker (WWU-MBVRC) and Doug McKeever (WCC-MBVRC).

Tuesday, August 28, all day.

7.5 miles, 2000′ elevation gain.

Cost is $75 donation to MBVRC’s nonprofit research and education fund.

Soil profile along Scott Paul Trail: Schreibers Meadow cinder cone scoria, and volcanic ash from Crater Lake caldera and Mount Baker. Click to enlarge.

The trip visits volcanic and glacial deposits, as well as wonderful alpine scenery in the high meadows.

Full details on the MBVRC blog: http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/guided-geology-field-trip-scott-paul-trail-on-mount-baker/

Registration is first come, first served. Register via email:

This is not a link

First MBVRC field trip of 2012

The first Mount Baker Volcano Research Center geology field trip of 2012 is announced over on the MBVRC blog.

The Pinus Lake lava towers 600′ above the Baker Highway east of Nooksack Falls. Click to enlarge any photo

The trip will head up the North Fork Nooksack and visit the Pinus Lake lava flow, the Wells Creek formation (subducted sea floor basalt), the gigantic Church Mountain Landslide, an older and larger version of the Racehorse Creek landslide, and Nooksack Falls. The trip will be led by Doug McKeever, geology Professor at Whatcom Community College. The first ten people have already signed up and the trip will reach its limit of 26 quickly so click here to  learn more about the trip and how to sign up.