Posted by: magmatist | March 29, 2014

2013 MBVRC financial statement

MBVRC is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit. We depend on financial support from our friends and the fine folks who attend our educational presentations and join our field trips. The board of directors wishes to let you know where our funding comes from and where it goes. Here is the 2013 MBVRC financial statement. Thanks to all who donated, joined a field trip, or bought a shirt or a poster. This statement will be filed with the Washington State Secretary of State’s office and the IRS.

The 2013 MBVRC financail statement. Click to enlarge

The 2013 MBVRC financial statement. Click to enlarge

 

An excel spreadsheet is attached>

MBVRC financial statement 2013.post

Our net income in 2013 was $683.27. Our largest expense was the research grant program: we awarded ($2751). T-shirt sales were our largest income source, with donations a close second. We had only one field trip in 2013, to the Baker River in early June. We plan more for 2014.

You can purchase a gift certificate for any MBVRC field trip. They cost $75; all you need to do is shoot an email (address below) and we’ll get one to you. Full info is here.

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this is not a link

Posted by: magmatist | March 7, 2014

Geology field trip April 12

West Beach, Deception Pass State Park consists of eroded Pleistocene glacial deposits. Fidalgo Island, across Deception Pass, consists of sea floor rocks accreted to the margin of North America.

West Beach, Deception Pass State Park consists of eroded Pleistocene glacial deposits. Fidalgo Island, across Deception Pass, consists of sea floor rocks accreted to the margin of North America.

Three spaces left.
Register now for MBVRC’s April 12th guided geology field trip, oriented towards a general audience. The all-day trip is a fundraiser for our research and grant program. We will visit a number of outcrops at Deception Pass, Mount Erie, and the Chuckanut Coast. The trip leader is Scott Babcock, geology professor at Western Washington University and coauthor of ‘Hiking Guide to Washington Geology’ (originally published as ‘Hiking Washington’s Geology’). Scott has led geology trips for general audiences in many parts of the world. MBVRC gift certificates may be redeemed for this or any MBVRC field trip.

TRIP COST: the trip is open to each person who makes a minimum $75 tax-deductible donation to MBVRC, until the vans are full. MBVRC will provide van transport and handouts.                   

Ribbon chert deposited in the deep ocean is now exposed at Rosario Head.

Ribbon chert deposited in the deep ocean is now exposed at Rosario Head.

DESCRIPTION: Some really interesting geology is revealed by the landforms and rock outcrops found in the lowlands and foothills of Northwest Washington.  Most of the landscape and deposits of this area are the legacy of the advance of glaciers during the last Ice Age between 21,000 and 13,000 years ago.  However there are also scattered outcrops of bedrock that are millions of years old.  We will begin the trip with some of the youngest glacial deposits on Whidbey Island and work our way back to Bellingham through spectacular exposures of the older bedrock at Deception Pass, Mount Erie and elsewhere on Fidalgo Island, and finish up with younger rocks along Chuckanut Drive. We will inspect sea floor sedimentary rocks, pillow basalts, remnants of an oceanic magma chamber, and 60-million year old flood plain deposits of the Chuckanut Formation. There will be a series of short walks.  The longest will be about a quarter mile along the beach at West Beach in Deception Pass State Park.  The most strenuous will be 1/8 mile to Rosario Head (70′ elevation gain).  There will be other stops at Deception Pass, Mount Erie, and along Chuckanut.

Tilted marine sedimentary rocks at Deception Pass.

Tilted marine sedimentary rocks at Deception Pass.

We will travel in two rental vans, starting from Bellingham; there will be a couple of pick up points along the way if you join us from points south. The trip is open to all ages, and no prior geology is required. However, a basic understanding of plate tectonics, in particular subduction and terrane accretion will be useful.

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this is not a link

Mount Erie rocks were intruded beneath an oceanic volcanic island. Views from the top are spectacular.

Mount Erie rocks were intruded beneath an oceanic volcanic island before accretion to the North America. Views from the top are spectacular. Hope for good weather!

REGISTRATION: Registration is through advance donation to MBVRC. The trip is limited to the first 26 people making payment.

1. Send an email to MBVRC stating your intention to attend. Please put ‘field trip’ in the subject line of your message. You will receive payment information, and can pay through PayPal or personal check. If you have a gift certificate, let us know.

2. Trip confirmation is in order of contribution received.

MORE FIELD TRIPS will be offered later in the year, including Mount Baker hikes. Stay informed by taking out an email subscription to this blog using the subscription box at right.

The Spring 2014 Adventures NW.

The Spring 2014 Adventures NW.

Pick up* a free copy of Adventures NW magazine to find a fictional account of a near-future eruption at Mount Baker. The story was written by Dave Tucker, and contains a number of photos by John Scurlock, as well as a magnificently photoshopped rendition of Baker in eruption. Special insider info for MBVRC blog-o-philes: the eruption cloud is taken from a photo of Semeru (Java); the Baker view is a photo by John D’Onofrio (publisher/editor/chief cook and bottle washer at Adventures NW) taken from out in the San Juans. A photo essay will appear on the magazine’s website next week.

Bear in mind that the eruption story is one of only several possible scenarios for a Baker eruption. This one is based on the 6600 year old ‘BA’ tephra eruption, the largest from Sherman Crater in the geologic record. A lahar is generated (read the story to learn where it goes and what it does). Certainly a number of other Baker variations could be told. Much depends on wind direction, height and volume of the eruption plume, whether or not a volcanic landslide and lahar develop and in what drainage(s).

*Adventures NW is a free outdoors magazine published in Bellingham. Find it at “hundreds of locations region-wide, throughout Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties, at select spots in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, and in Leavenworth, the Methow Valley, Spokane and Wenatchee. The magazine is also available at all REI locations in Washington and Oregon as well as at numerous locations in the Vancouver, BC metro area and through races and events and at visitor centers.”

Posted by: magmatist | February 27, 2014

Large plumes at Sherman Crater today

Feb. 27, 2014 gas plumes. Photo by Chris Farrow, Big Lake, Washington

Feb. 27, 2014 gas plumes. Photo by Chris Farrow, Big Lake, Washington

Atmospheric conditions were right this morning to see a sizable gas plume rising from Sherman Crater and rising over 1000 feet. There have not been many good plume shows this winter. The plume is about 99% steam; the remainder of the gas is mostly CO2 and H2S, which are ultimately derived from hot magmatic rocks at an unknown depth below the volcano. The photo was taken by Chris Farrow, who lives near Big Lake, east of Mount Vernon. Thanks, Chris.

Posted by: magmatist | February 7, 2014

Eruption simulation links repaired

The Mount Baker eruption simulation links have been updated; you will find them here: http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/monitoring/todays-mount-baker-eruption-simulation-from-usgs/.

This model simulates a repeat of the largest eruption at Baker that is preserved in the geologic record as it would behave today, using the latest NOAA wind data. This data is updated 3 times per day.  This models the 6600 year old “BA ash eruption”, with a duration of 6 hours and with a plume reaching 8 km into the atmosphere (about 5 km above the summit of Mount Baker). It is instructive to return to this page as weather changes in the Baker area- where might ash fall on any given day?

Ricardo Escobar. All photos courtesy R. Escobar. Click to enlarge any image.

Ricardo Escobar. All photos courtesy R. Escobar. Click to enlarge any image.

Here is the final report from Mount Baker Volcano Research Center’s 2013 research grantees. Ricardo Escobar is a geology graduate student at Western Washington University under the supervision of Dr. Susan DeBari; he hails from Los Angeles. Ricardo’s tale of his adventures in the field follow, a classic account of field work in the Baker area, and his description of his project. Like May Sas and Ian Delaney, he received $667 towards his thesis study of the origin of andesite lava in the Mount Baker volcanic field (MBVF). Scroll down here to read Ricardo’s research proposal.

Ricardo’s project may seem superficially similar to May’s. But, while May is studying the enigmatic origin of high-magnesium andesites, which have some geochemical signature indicating at least some mantle influence, Ricardo is focusing on the far more voluminous and typical MBVF andesites that have a ‘normal’ Mg composition and are generally believed to differentiate in the crust.

Help support MBVRC’s research fund. It’s easy to contribute right now via paypal, or by mail. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Petrogenesis of intermediate magmas at Mount Baker volcano, northern Cascade arc. Ricardo Escobar, WWU Geology

Ricardo will sample the circled lava units. Map from Hildreth, 2003.

Ricardo will sample the circled lava units. Map from Hildreth, 2003.

Several studies have been conducted to better understand the petrologic processes occurring beneath the Mount Baker volcanic field, but none have been aimed at discerning the origin of true intermediate (54-62 wt. % SiO2) magmas (andesites). Considering andesitic lavas are the most voluminous component of flows in the Mount Baker volcanic field, it is important to gain insight on how these magmas originated. Previously, Moore and DeBari (2012) conducted a study on the primitive magmas (basalts) of the Mount Baker volcanic field, in which they identified three primitive magma types: calc-alkaline basalt, high-Mg andesite and MORB-like low K tholeiite. Most recently, Gross (2012) studied the most differentiated magmas (dacites) of the Mount Baker volcanic field and was unable to constrain the Nooksack Falls dacite with a primitive magma identified by Moore and DeBari (2012). Set up as an ideal framework, I propose to evaluate the relationship(s) intermediate magmas have with the most primitive and differentiated magmas found in the Mount Baker volcanic field. Specifically, the goal is to understand what roles magma mixing and crystal fractionation play in generating the intermediate magmas and possibly constrain the parent-less Nooksack falls dacite.

In order to ensure the collection of true intermediate magmas of the Mount Baker volcanic field, I used Hildreth et al.’s (2003) foundational study, which is the most comprehensive study of Mount Baker volcanic field lava flows, as a starting point. The major element dataset of Hildreth et al. (2003) allowed me to construct geochemical variation diagrams for selecting true intermediate magmas. Four lava flows were selected: andesite of Dobbs Cleaver, andesite of Dobbs Creek, andesite of Coleman Pinnacle and andesite of Swift Creek.

D. Tuckers assists with sampling at the none-too-prominent Dobbs Cleaver andesite.

D. Tuckers assists with sampling at the none-too-prominent Dobbs Cleaver andesite.

During the months of August and September, I made several trips to the Mount Baker area to collect rock samples from four flows: Dobbs Cleaver, Dobbs Creek, Swift Creek and Coleman Pinnacle (see the map above). Following field work, I cut billets (blocks of rock about the size of a microscope slide) of each sample for professional thin section preparation by Vancouver Petrographics. I then powdered splits from the remaining rock samples for XRF and ICP-MS analyses, which have now been completed- results will appear in my thesis following comparison and interpretation. Funds received from MBVRC have been used to cover the cost of thin sections ($625) and a portion of the XRF chemical analyses carried out at Washington State University ($42).

Jungle-covered andesite of Dobbs Creek is a thick flow guarded by steep slopes and brush.

Jungle-covered andesite of Dobbs Creek is a thick flow guarded by steep slopes and brush.

Accessibility to the target lava flows is impossible throughout most of the year as they are under snow cover. My field work took place in August and September 2013. The unpaved Wells Creek Road, off the Mount Baker Highway, accesses Dobbs Cleaver and Dobbs Creek on Cougar Divide. Despite dense vegetation and complete absence of trails, I collected seven samples of the andesite of Dobbs Cleaver on August 13, 2013 with the assistance of Dave Tucker and about 30 gazillion mosquitos. I intended to collect samples of the remaining flows over the course of a few days. Taking Wells Creek Road once more on August 25, 2013, I ventured on a steep cross-country hike to gain access to the andesite of Dobbs Creek. Again, due to the difficulties of hiking and spotting outcrops in dense vegetation, only 5 samples were collected on that day.

A large clot of crystals in Coleman Pinnacle andesite.

A large clot of crystals in Coleman Pinnacle andesite.

After camping off a forest road, early the next morning I took the Ptarmigan Ridge trail, at Artist Point, toward the andesite of Coleman Pinnacle. Due to intense fog, rain and dropping temperatures throughout the day I only managed to collect 4 samples. Earlier that week, the forecast had predicted clear skies for the days I planned to be out in the field so as one can imagine I was ill-prepared. Having been completely soaked and experiencing quivers throughout my body I decided to retreat and head home. My next attempt to collect samples from andesite of Swift Creek on August 31, 2013. Two trailheads give access to these remote outcrops on the floor of Swift Creek. On this day I, along with a field assistant, started on the Lake Ann trailhead near Artist Point. To our dismay, the lower channel of Swift Creek below Fourth of July Creek was inaccessible from the trail. Steep cliff drops over 20m high confronted us at every turn. Fortunately, one creek that feeds into Swift Creek contained an exposure that appeared identical to Swift Creek andesites sampled by Hildreth et al. (2003) and so two samples were collected. Two weeks later, on September 13, 2013, I decided to enter Swift Creek from the south side and was much more successful. To access the flows I had to hike and wade upstream, which results in less mileage and more time. I managed to collect three samples, totaling five samples from the andesite of Swift Creek flow. Discontented with my andesite of Coleman Pinnacle collection, I ventured out once more on September 26, 2013 to collect a couple more samples. Fortunately, the weather was promising and my assistant and I successfully collected two more samples from andesite of Coleman Pinnacle, totaling at 6 samples. Though several complications arose throughout my sample collecting, I managed to collect a total of 23 samples.

Beautiful thin columns on the bank of deepest darkest Swift Creek.

Beautiful thin columns on the bank of deepest darkest Swift Creek. Now these are worth the effort!

Over the past few months I prepared my rock samples for XRF and ICP-MS analyses, which requires a lengthy and tedious process. The process includes breaking down rock to chips and finally to a powder. Once the powders have been made, they are mixed with a flux, allowing the powder to melt at a much lower temperature, and made into a glass bead. The beads are then analyzed at the GeoAnalytical Lab at Washington State University (WSU). While preparing my samples for XRF and ICP-MS analyses, I sent billets of each sample to Vancouver Petrographics for professional thin sections. I am now conducting microscopic analyses with the thin sections as I await for my XRF and ICP-MS data from WSU. From petrographic analyses I will select minerals for further investigation with an electron microprobe to understand physical properties of the magma chamber(s) beneath the Mount Baker volcanic field. Once I receive the data from the XRF and ICP-MS analyses I can begin to construct diagrams and models for explaining the petrogenesis of intermediate magmas at the Mount Baker volcanic field.

May on Ptarmigan Ridge, east of Mount Baker.

May on Ptarmigan Ridge, east flank of Mount Baker.

MBVRC provides grants to support geologic research on Mount Baker. Reports from grant recipients are periodically posted so you, who are the principal contributors to our research fund, will know how the money is being spent. Here is a report from May Sas, one of our three 2013 grant recipients.  May is a geology grad student at Western Washington University. Last spring we posted the proposals from our 2013 grantees; scroll down  here to read May’s full study plan. In late December we posted a final report from Ian Delaney. A report from Ricardo Escobar, the third award winner, will come your way soon.

It’s really easy to contribute via paypal, or by mail. All contributions are tax-deductible.

High-Magnesium andesites from the northern Cascade Arc: Using mineral chemistry to distinguish between hypotheses for their origin

by May Sas, WWU.

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Geologic map of Mount Baker volcanic field, modified after Hildreth et al. (2003), showing May’s study areas in the insets. (A) Glacier Creek andesite (agc). (B) Tarn Plateau basaltic-andesite (atp).

The origin of high-Mg andesites (HMAs) poses a fundamental geochemical paradox given their unusually high Mg# (‘magnesium number’, or the ratio of Mg to the sum of Mg and Fe), indicating equilibrium with mantle olivine, and at the same time their overall andesitic SiO2 contents, which are more typical of crustal magmas. Trace element chemistry of HMAs is also distinctive; they exhibit a steep rare earth element (REE) pattern with high La/Yb ratios, notable depletion in heavy REE, and Ni and Cr enrichment. In this project I am trying to discern between variable hypotheses for the origin of HMAs in the northern Cascade Arc using rocks from Mount Baker and Glacier Peak.

Because samples from lavas in the Mount Baker volcanic field have been collected during previous studies and whole-rock chemistry completed, this project represents an excellent opportunity to explore the information carried in large crystals (phenocrysts) to answer questions of andesite magma origin. An investigation of phenocryst geochemistry, in combination with whole-rock geochemical data and modeling, will allow me to test previous hypotheses in order to constrain the origin and evolution of these magmas prior to eruption. My methods include analysis of crystal textures (chiefly disequilibrium textures), mineral chemistry (major, minor, trace element), and modeling.

Progress Report: Grant funding from the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center, totaling $667, was used toward electron microprobe (EMP) analysis completed at University of Washington in September 2013. Data collection during this session included major and minor element concentration in olivine, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase mineral phases. Three different high-Mg flows were analyzed, Glacier Peak’s Lightning Creek basaltic andesite and Mount Baker’s Tarn Plateau basaltic andesite and Glacier Creek andesite. Over 15 crystals of each phase have been examined per unit. These data are being worked on and reviewed in detail, and will be used to constrain crucial magmatic conditions as well as provide the first clue regarding the origin of these controversial lava flows.

Image of a 100μ thick (that’s 0.004 inch) plagioclase crystal as seen with the optical microscope. Please click to enlarge this beautiful tiny crystal.

Additional work that has been completed includes preparation of 100 micron(μm) thick sections of selected samples, extensive petrographic examination for identification of mineral phases and textural relationships, and extensive scanning electron microscope imaging of ideal crystals using the back-scatter electron (SEM-BSE) technique. Future work, in addition to data processing, includes more EMP analysis, specifically deciphering oxide chemistry which will be used to derive magma oxygen fugacity levels (ƒO2). Laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) will follow EMP work, and will be used to determine trace element concentrations in the selected samples to calculate parental magma compositions. Finally, modeling will be used to conclude the probable source of these HMAs by amalgamating all of the constraints, such as H2O contents and ƒO2 conditions, in addition to mineral and whole rock major, minor, and trace element concentrations.

Posted by: magmatist | January 2, 2014

Welcome new subscribers

Aerial photo by John Scurlock.

Baker pops a champagne cork. Aerial photo by John Scurlock.

Happy New Year, everyone! The MBVRC blog has really taken off this year. Nearly half of all subscribers joined us in 2013. There were over 32,500 page views in 2013, double the tally from 2012. Readers were particularly interested in the several reports on the Middle Fork Nooksack landslide-induced debris flows back in May and June. The daily Mount Baker eruption simulations generated by the USGS Ash3D computer model are also a big hit (see the ‘monitoring’ page for the link).

If you haven’t yet, spend some time poking around the various page tabs at the top of the webpage.

Watch for a post in the coming days summarizing our nonprofit organization’s activities over the past year, and the financial statement. We depend on donations from the public to keep our research fund growing, and you have a right to see how we spend our money.

We plan an expanded field trip schedule this year, including some to the Salish lowlands in late winter/spring. Not specifically Mount Baker oriented, but fun geology regardless.

Two Mount Baker eruption history and hazard presentations are currently on the schedule:

January 14- Skagit Audubon Club meets at Bayview State Park’s Padilla Bay Interpretive Center, 7 PM.

February 1- Oak Harbor, at the Sound Waters annual symposium. 1:15.

Both presentations will be by Dave Tucker.

Posted by: magmatist | December 29, 2013

Kulshan caldera ash discovered in Eastern Washington

The arrow at left points to the tephra deposit. Photo courtesy Nick Pearce.

The arrow at left points to the tephra deposit. Photo courtesy Nick Pearce.

A new deposit of the 1.15 million-year-old ash that erupted during collapse of the Kulshan caldera has been discovered near Washtucna in eastern Washington, 350 km (220 miles) southeast of the source. The Kulshan caldera is on the east margin of the Mount Baker volcanic field. The ash is called the Lake Tapps tephra; the lake is near Sumner, the town east of Tacoma where the 20-30 cm ash deposit was first discovered; it was originally described in a 1980 paper by John Westgate and his colleagues, when the source eruption was yet unknown. A 3-cm-thickness of the tephra was also found in Frigid Creek, 90 km west of Sumner in Mason County

The discovery was made by Nick Pearce and his colleagues from Aberystwyth University (Wales) during research into Mount St. Helens ash deposits. They discovered a 15 cm thick ash layer in the Palouse Loess (thick, long-lived windblown deposits). The sample site was already known from earlier paleomagnetic work to be around 1.2 Ma, close to the age of the caldera eruption. Nick reports that the ash was sampled and chemically analyzed. It was found to be an excellent match to the Lake Tapps tephra, which was shown by Wes Hildreth to be the same as the intracaldera deposits.  Nick was sent pumice and ash samples from within the caldera to further substantiate his work.

Detail of the 15-cm-thick Lake Tapps (Kulshan caldera) tephra at Washtucna. Nick Pearce photo.

Detail of the 15-cm-thick Lake Tapps (Kulshan caldera) tephra at Washtucna. Nick Pearce photo.

The new find suggests that the caldera tephra is distributed further and more thickly to the east or southeast, rather than to the south. Perhaps other deposits will be discovered by alert geologists in the future. We’ll post more details of this research as it progresses, and references when they are published.

References:

Hildreth, W., 1996, Kulshan Caldera: a Quaternary subglacial caldera in the North Cascades, Washington: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 108, p. 786-793.

J.A. Westgate, D.J. Easterbrook, N Naeser, R Carson, 1980, Lake Tapps tephra: An early Pleistocene stratigraphic marker in the Puget Lowland, Washington. Quaternary Research, v. 28, p. 340-355.

Posted by: magmatist | December 28, 2013

Research Grant report- soot and glacier ablation at Mount Baker

Ian Delaney collects snow samples on Boulder Glacier in June, 2013. Photo by Ryan Larson. Click to enlarge any image.

Ian Delaney collects snow samples on Boulder Glacier in June, 2013. Photo by Ryan Larson. Click to enlarge any image.

Ian Delaney is one of MBVRC’s three 2013 research grant recipients. Ian, a graduate student at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, studied the effects of soot accumulation on glaciers in the Cascades. Two of his study areas were the Boulder and Easton Glaciers on Mount Baker. MBVRC provided funding for Ian’s transportation costs from Ellensburg to Mount Baker, food, and for Single Particle Soot Photometer analysis for 50 black carbon samples at CWU’s geology lab. Ian’s summary follows. The full report is available on our blog, and Ian’s thesis proposal to CWU is on the CWU website. Ian has now completed his Masters work and graduated. He will submit his research for publication in a journal.

Help expand our research grant program. Donate at MBVRC’s PayPal account.

Summary:

Surface snow on the Easton Glacier, Mount Baker, September 12, 2013. Note the variable impurity content.- dusty vs. 'pure' snow.

Snow on the Easton Glacier, Mount Baker, September 12, 2013. Note the variation in color- dusty vs. ‘pure’ snow, an artifact of variable melting rates.

Black carbon (also called soot, from the incomplete combustion of fossil and biofuels) deposition on snow and ice darkens the surface of glaciers and snowpack, reducing albedo or reflectivity, causing additional absorption of solar radiation by the snowpack thus accelerating snowmelt and changing the timing of runoff. This is particularly important in Washington State and Mount Baker, as glaciers and seasonal snowpack have shrunk considerably in recent years and are integral to the region’s water resources. Little data exists regarding the concentration of black carbon in Mount Baker’s snow, necessary to determine if enough black carbon is present to substantially accelerate snowmelt. To obtain this data, snow samples were collected in the early and late season (June 8th and September 12th, 2013) from the Boulder and Easton glaciers of Mount Baker and analyzed for black carbon. Analysis of this data suggests that black carbon concentrations are quite low during the early season, but increase considerably during the later summer- enough to reduce albedo by up to 21%. Increases in black carbon concentration found in the snowpack later in the season coincide with increased atmospheric concentrations of black carbon. Also during the later part of the season, large amounts of runoff come from glacial melt. As a result, black carbon contributes to glacier melt late in the summer, as opposed to melt of the seasonal snow earlier in the season. As black carbon contributes to albedo reduction and accelerated snowmelt, future work is needed to determine if black carbon in the region comes from anthropogenic activity or natural processes such as forest fires. Should large amounts of black carbon come from anthropogenic activities, efforts to reduce regional emissions, can improve the state of the regions water resources and glacial environments.

Click to go to Ian Delaney’s full report to MBVRC.

Posted by: magmatist | December 10, 2013

Geology Field Trips: gift certificates available from MBVRC

Gift Cert cartoon copyMBVRC is offering gift certificates for our field trips.  These make great gifts for your geophile friends and relatives who already have hammers, handlenses, and all the trappings, but no place to take them. The cost $75 (the usual cost of a one day guided trip, including van transport) but can be applied to any field trip offered by MBVRC. This year, we are planning to offer an expanded program. We will offer trips to lowland sites in the late winter/early spring, to Mount Baker in the summer. We are currently organizing a multi-day trip to Mount St. Helens for the summer, too!

To purchase a gift certificate, send an email or letter to MBVRC. We will need payment and the name of the person the certificate is for, as well as your mailing address. You may send payment via check payable to ‘MBVRC’ to us at 708 13th St, Bellingham, or use our PayPal account:

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this is not a link

Doug McKeever (orange jacket, left) discusses ash from Crater lake caldera in trail cuts along Scott Paul Trail. Nobody sleeping yet!

Doug McKeever (orange jacket, left) discusses ash from Crater lake caldera in trail cuts along Scott Paul Trail.

We will send you a nicely printed gift certificate. Field trips fees beyond expenses go to our research and education fund. To see brief descriptions of some of our past geology field trips, scroll down here: http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/field-trips/

Posted by: magmatist | December 6, 2013

Lassen Peak focus for research into volcano plumbing

Lassen Peak. Erik Klemetti photo.

Lassen Peak. Erik Klemetti photo.

Erik Klemetti has posted a fascinating article about new research at Lassen Peak. He describes work yielding insights into developments within a magma chamber in the years between eruptions. Erik and his undergraduate students at tiny Denison College (Granville, Ohio) looked at tiny zircon crystals preserved in lava that erupted in 1915 and also the 27,000-year-old Chaos Crags lava. If nothing else grabs you in his short post, you’ll get to read about the “Bumpass Sequence”,and why the “blob from hell” magma model just may be obsolete.

Erik’s Eruptions Blog is always entertaining with insightful, up-to-the-minute news of volcanic events around the world. Any volcanophile will find that it is well worth subscribing.

Posted by: magmatist | December 3, 2013

If Baker erupted today, Bellingham gets ashed.

Modeled ash plume and deposit thickness for December 3, 2013. Ash 3D model, USGS.

Modeled ash plume and deposit thickness for December 3, 2013. Ash 3D model, USGS. Bellingham is not labeled, but is within the orange 3 cm area. Click to enlarge.

A eruption model for Mount Baker today (December 3, 2013) shows that Bellingham could get over an inch of ash (click on the map at left). That would make a nasty mess. Consider: the wind is blowing, so ash would swirl through your neighborhood. The forecast is dry, so no rain to wash it away, or at least help get it out of trees and off surfaces and into the soil. Frequent updates to the complete simulation for eruptions on any given day, using the current wind direction is posted under the ‘monitoring’ tab at the top of this page. It is important to note that no Baker ash has ever been recognized from soil profiles in western Whatcom County. Such wind patterns are relatively uncommon, except in winter. Note that even Seattle gets a trace today.  The ash plume would shut down all aircraft traffic into the region. Hope you weren’t planning a flight to Hawai’i! (Addendum at 10:30 AM PST: the model from later today, with a stronger north wind that developed mid-morning, shows that Seattle is now well into the plume.)

Renewed eruptions at Mount Baker could conceivably have a month’s notice via seismometer monitoring– or as little as a day or so. Got your paper mask handy?

Eruption plume from Sinabung.

Eruption plume from Sinabung.

Swirling ash near Sinabung, Sumatra.

Swirling ash near Sinabung, Sumatra.

The current eruptions at the andesitic Sinabung volcano 40 km northwest of Lake Toba, North Sumatra may serve as a reminder of possibilities here. Read more about Sinabung’s renewed eruptions, following a long period of quiescence, on Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions Blog.

Sinabung ash on vehicles. If this happens to you, don't brush it off! Ash is  abrasive and ruins paint!

Sinabung ash on vehicles. If this happens to you, don’t brush it off! Ash is abrasive and ruins paint!

Sinabung residents wear dust masks.

Sinabung residents wear dust masks.

ivm-logoThe International Volcano Monitoring fund (http://www.ivm-fund.org) is a registered non-profit (in the US and Canada) with the aim of helping volcano observatories in developing countries acquire basic monitoring tools.

For the last few years, IM-Fund has been working with Guatemalan volcanologists to

May 2011 eruption of the Santiaguito vent at Fuego Volcano.

May 2011 eruption of the Santiaguito vent at Fuego Volcano.

OVSAN team and donated equipment rsz

The Fuego monitoring team (local villagers) and donated equipment

instrument Fuego volcano (http://www.ivm-fund.org/guatemala-fuego/) with seismometers, a computer to process and store data, and other monitoring tools. Fuego is one of Guatemala’s most active systems. A new small project is to purchase and install an online webcam to monitor  the volcanic activity in real time (24/7).

So, please consider a small, $1 donation (https://onetoday.google.com/p/Y6EEeANR?c=5106381979910144) to help us with this project.

IVM Fund gets 0.98 cents for each dollar you donate via this online payment.

Please send this post on to others you might think would be interested in helping.

Posted by: magmatist | November 5, 2013

Today’s Mount Baker ash simulations

eruption PM 11-4

A screen capture from a Baker ash deposit simulation.

A new page has been added to the Monitoring tab. A USGS website now simulates the ash plume and distribution of ash if the largest post-glacial Baker eruption, the 6600-year-old ‘BA’, occurred under today’s wind conditions.

Go to the ‘Baker Ash Today’ page.

Airborne ash plume:

https://vsc-ash.wr.usgs.gov/public_results_airborne.php?ash3d_job_id=759

Deposit:

https://vsc-ash.wr.usgs.gov/public_results_deposit.php?ash3d_job_id=759

A simulated Baker ash plume 12 hours after eruption. Note: in this simulation, Seattle is unaffected, while Whatcom County and the lower Mainland of British Columbia are.

A simulated Baker ash plume 12 hours after eruption. Note: in this simulation, Seattle is unaffected, while Whatcom County and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia are.

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