Posted by: magmatist | December 7, 2012

Mount Baker earthquakes

One of the two permanent, telemetered seismometers at Mount Baker.

One of the two permanent and telemetered seismometers at Mount Baker operated by PNSN.

MBVRC gets many questions about earthquakes at Mount Baker. Baker is pretty quiet. The last earthquake on the mountain or its flanks was July 10, 2011. The magnitude was 1.9, and the depth was 7.2 km. The location was in the Boulder Creek drainage, around 6.5 km (4 miles) southeast of the summit. Even during the eruption scare of 1975, there was little to no seismic activity.

You can find all this for yourself. There is a tab to ‘monitoring and webcams’ at the top of our website. Click and scroll down and you’ll see a link to “Mount Baker seismic activity” compiled by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network [PNSN]. That link will take you to a map showing the distribution of earthquakes near the volcano since 2005. If you click on the ‘seismicity’ tab at the top of the PNSN Baker page, you will see earthquake epicenters since 2001. You can click on any of the yellow dots to learn about that particular earthquake. PNSN has an explanation for some of these events and the difficulty of interpreting seismic signals: http://www.pnsn.org/volcanoes

PNSN also makes this statement:

“Mount Baker has many active glaciers on it, many of which generate seismic signals when they move.  Some of the plotted events above may be due to these glacier sources rather than true earthquakes.  Because of the strong dispersion of seismic waves in the geologically complex rock of a volcano seismic sources at or very near the surface are hard to discriminate from real earthquakes at shallow depths. ”

Here is the direct link to the PNSN Mount Baker page:

http://www.pnsn.org/volcanoes/mount-baker

Also, the PNSN runs the PNSN Seismo Blog, always worth a visit.

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