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
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
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.
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.