Posted by: magmatist | January 10, 2011

More Baker steam plume pics

Alert readers sent in more pics of  Sunday’s visible gas plume at Baker. Thanks, your contributions are appreciated.

Baker gas plume from the ski area, Jan. 9, 2011. Click to enlarge any image.

Stephen Trinkhaus sent this one from the top of the Hemisphere’s chair. Justin Dean wrote “. . . we went skiing yesterday and stopped to eat lunch at the top and another guy up there was joking about how it looked like Baker was getting ready to blow…”

Russ Burmester sent one (below) from north of Bellingham, taken Sunday evening. Russ’s photos clearly show two plumes rising out of Sherman Crater: the one on the right is from the west rim fumaroles, just east of the crater rim on the Easton Glacier climbing route. The left-hand plume rises from the northwest fumarole cluster, a couple hundred meters further north. For video of the crater and the fumaroles, go here on the MBVRC main website.

Compare these views with earlier posts on the website: May 7, 2010, and March 5, 2010.

Gas plumes rise out of Sherman Crater, Jan. 9, 2011.

As you can see, gas rising out of the crater is not an unusual event; anyone who has climbed Baker will know this. On relatively calm, cold days, the hot steam and gases rising from the hot magma reservoir deep under the volcano condenses into visible plumes. The gas is primarily water vapor. Removing the water vapor, the remaining gas in these plumes is around 80% CO2, 3-4% is the rotten-egg smelling hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and a percent or two is nitrogen (N2). If you are interested in chemical analyses of the gas, go to the geochemistry page on the MBVRC main website.

There was no volcanic seismic activity (PNSN website) recorded at Baker’s two seismometers on Sunday.


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