Posted by: magmatist | February 10, 2013

Mount Baker steam plume update

Dear friends,

The large steam plumes reported to be venting from Sherman Crater this morning had pretty much petered out by 8:30 or so this AM, most likely dispersed by wind. Most of us in the lowlands couldn’t seem them, being below, or deep within, the marine layer. The reports came in from observers in the San Juans, who did not have fog obscuring their views. A few photos came in, but they either showed nothing at all, or only a very weak plume. But, the number of hits that this blog received today was the highest single-day total of all time with most visitors reading this morning’s post. Hits so far have even surpassed the large numbers during the rumpus in February 2011 surrounding the false reports of a Baker eruption carried by some Lower Mainland and Puget area newspapers and TV ‘news’ broadcasts (and a retraction from one of them here). And, for all you tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists, this morning’s post was not intended to boost this blog’s hit tally.

So, to make it up to you, here is a photo sent in by a loyal subscriber, taken from her deck at sunset near Big Lake [east of Mount Vernon] in January 2011. These plumes are clearly rising from several fumarole clusters just inside the crater’s west rim, and are about 1500 feet tall. They resemble what was seen by one telephone report from this morning.

Sherman Crater plumes from Big Lake Washington.Photo courtesy Chris Farrow.

Sherman Crater plumes from Big Lake Washington.
Photo courtesy Chris Farrow. This is a large image. Click to enlarge the full impact. Your browser may allow you to continue to enlarge with more clicks.


  1. I posted this to; /r/seattle, and /r/bellingham this morning. That accounted for over 350 hits before noon and plenty more as the day went on. You guys should put up posts like this yourself, and also to /r/geology, etc. You are sure to get maximum exposure. Kurt

  2. Rad photo! What is going on up there?!

    • Aaron,
      The steam plumes in Christine’s photo are a little more pronounced than usual, but I don’t think anything is out of whack. Baker constantly gives off gas plumes: mostly water vapor but also CO2 and H2S, among other gases. These come off the magma lying at an unknown depth beneath the volcano. They are more visible in the right atmospheric conditions. It appears that on the day the photo was taken, the air was very calm above the crater.
      Dave for MBVRC

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