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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    Visit Mount Baker Volcano Research Center websites Main website and the blog These are no longer actively maintained but are still good references [DT, April, 2020]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 book: Geology of the San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands geologist Ned Brown brings us a wonderful new geology guide- just in time for holiday gifts.

Ned Brown's Geology of the San Juan Islands. Chuckanut Editions, 2014

Ned Brown’s Geology of the San Juan Islands. Chuckanut Editions, 2014

Geology of the San Juan Islands is a full color guide to the geology of these beautiful islands. The book is written for the geophile of all stripes. It is the best, easiest-to-understand explanation of San Juan geology I have seen, and I urge you to spend $19 and get your own copy right now.

Ned Brown is an emeritus professor in the Western Washington University Geology Department. He has been working in the islands for decades. The complex geology of the archipelago has long inspired and exasperated geologists. Ned’s book describes the remarkable tectonic history that has repeatedly brought together unrelated rocks from around the Pacific and stacked them against each other during subduction. His color photos and detailed diagrams explain the processes and evolution of each of the rock units clearly. The book also explains how he and others have come up with this most current interpretation of San Juan Islands geologic history, by mapping rock units and faults, dating zircon crystals in the rocks, identifying fossils and correlating these with the ancient areas where these creatures lived.  Ned tells you just where to go to see the best outcrops, including all the photo locations. Among the more amazing ideas he throws out is the possible origin of the oldest rocks in the  350- to 500-million year old Turtleback Complex on Orcas Island. The gabbro and granitic rocks, once intruded deep in the crust,  may have originally intruded deep in the crust….in northern Europe! This was during the time of the supercontinent Rodinia.

The book is self-published through the Chuckanut Editions imprint of Village Books in Bellingham. The book is not yet available. Go buy a copy in the store, or write Village Books and ask them to please make the book available for on-line orders.Dave Tucker

 

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.

Pillows in the Middle Fork Nooksack

Stacked pillows. Stolen from a commercial website. So, sue me.

Stacked pillows. Stolen from a commercial website. So, sue me.

(Click HERE to go straight to the page about the pillows along the road.)

No, pillow lava, silly!

Cross-sectioned basalt lava pillow in the Elbow Lake Formation, Middle Fork Nooksack Road. Click to enlarge.

Cross-sectioned basalt lava pillow in the Elbow Lake Formation, Middle Fork Nooksack Road. Click to enlarge.

I planned a XC ski trip up the Porter Creek Road or elsewhere off the Middle Fork Road today, but it was raining and 41 degrees. Indulging my secret identity as a geologist, I instead poked around in a roadside quarry, looking at pillow lava in the Elbow Lake Formation. A rewarding outing from Bellingham if you have a 2-3 hours on your hands and a deeply felt need to look at some exotic, unusual, and (admittedly) not too beautiful rocks. The saving grace is the lava pillows, and a cup of coffee on the way and on the way back. As an added bonus, there is access to Twin Sisters dunite nearby.

P.S. There ARE some nice roads to ski up and back down off the Middle Fork.

Geology guide to Fragrance Lake Trail (Larrabee State Park)

The Christmas Girls had just finished decorating all the sign posts as I pulled into the parking lot. Very festive! Click to enlarge.

The Christmas Girls had just finished decorating all the sign posts as I pulled into the parking lot. Very festive! Click to enlarge.

I’ve written up a geology guide to the popular Fragrance Lake trail. You’ll find it here. Even if the hike is mostly in glacial till, there are interesting stones in it, and the Chuckanut cliffs are always worth a peak. I do some armwaving about the origin of the big cliffs above the lake, too.

Baker River geology field guide posted

Baker River's braided channel just above Lake Creek.

Baker River’s braided channel just above Lake Creek.

After a hike up the Baker River Trail at the north end of the Baker Reservoir, I just had to write it up for the blog. Shuksan Greenschist, waterfalls, an entrenched delta-cum-alluvial fan, exhumed eroded giant tree stumps, and really cool river cobbles, including volcanic breccia from Hannegan caldera. An easy round trip of 5 miles, even good in the pouring rain. Read the field trip here.

Mount Baker calendars! Scurlock photos!

The 2013 Mount Baker calendar features aerial views by John Scurlock. Click to enlarge.

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center is selling 2013 calendars featuring photos of Mount Baker. Each month has either a stunning aerial view by John Scurlock, or a geologic feature by Dave Tucker. Calendars are full-color, 11″ x 17″ [opened] and cost $25. Some important dates in Mount Baker history are included.

Order your calendar from the online printer/retailer Lulu. Go directly to the Lulu MBVRC calendar page ,where you can also preview the photos in the calendar. Holidays are approaching [hint, hint] so buy as many as you wish. Proceeds support the MBVRC research and education fund. The calendar can also be seen on the MBVRC post. Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.