The Eruptive History of the Active Volcano in Our Backyard

David Tucker, Research Associate in the Geology Department at WWU to Speak on Mount Baker for Whatcom County Historical Society

On Thursday, October 14, 7:30 PM, David Tucker will present the most recent geologic findings about past activity and the hazards we can expect in the future of Mount Baker.  Tucker has a Master of Science in Geology from WWU and has been researching volcanic geology of the

Doing research at Sherman Crater

Baker area for 15 years.  He is co-author of the upcoming USGS publication about Baker activity over the past 10,000 years.

A Little Known History

The history of Mount Baker is not well known due to the poor historic record of eruptions from Mount Baker; there are reasonably creditable reports of several small steam explosions in the 19th Century, probably similar to those in 1975.  A large steam explosion in 1843 spawned very localized ash deposits, and led to lahars, or volcanic mudflows, which ran down the east side drainages of Boulder, Park, and Morovitz Creeks.

In 1975, the volcano became the focus of research in the Cascades, to be largely abandoned when Mount Saint Helens started acting out in 1980. New studies appeared around 2003.  We now know that Mount Baker is about 40,000 years old, and that it is only the most youngest of several sizable volcanoes that have come and gone in the area over the past 1 million years or so.

Still Acting Up

From the 1st successful ascent of Mount Baker 1868

Sherman Crater, which forms the prominent notch seen from the lowlands, is just south of the summit plateau, and has hundreds of active gas vents, or fumaroles. These spew 150 tons of carbon dioxide and about 1 ton of hydrogen sulphide per day- both of these gases come from a magma body lurking below the volcano.

Free Talk!

Please join the Whatcom County Historical Society’s opening talk for the 2010-2011 season at the Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room, 121 Prospect St.  Come at 7:00 for a little socializing. The talk, which is free, starts at 7:30.


One thought on “The Eruptive History of the Active Volcano in Our Backyard

  1. To whom it may concern,

    My name is Adam Woog. I live in Seattle and have been a working writer for thirty years. I’d like to ask for your help regarding a collection of Washington State ghost legends I’m putting together. Globe Pequot Press will publish this book, Haunted Washington, in 2013, as part of a nationwide series.

    Naturally, I’m interested in collecting as many good ghost stories from your region as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated, and whoever I talk to will be given full credit. This will be in both the body of the text and on a “Thanks to…” page. Of course, anyone can also choose to be anonymous.

    I’m too much of an old newspaper/magazine guy to be interested in the “my-friend-saw-something-creepy” approach to this topic. Instead, I’m focusing on relatively well-established legends that already have legitimate media stories about them. As I’m sure you know, there’s a lot of invented junk out there, and I hope to avoid it as much as possible.

    My hope is to hear from people who are familiar with your region’s otherworldly legends. Although I’d love to travel to as many places as possible, in many instances I’ll have to be content with phone and/or email interviews.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: or (206) 525-2789. If you’d like to contact my editor at Globe Pequot, Erin Turner, she can be reached at

    Thanking you in advance for you help,
    Adam Woog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s