Posted by: magmatist | March 23, 2013

MBVRC in Concrete: Big Turnout

Big names on the marquee. Click to enlarge.

Big names on the marquee. Click to enlarge.

Residents of Concrete turned out in force Thursday evening to attend MBVRC’s presentation on Mount Baker hazards. The meeting was held at the Concrete Theatre downtown. The blockbuster animation film “The Croods” was scheduled to show the next day, but the animated cave people, who have their own problems with volcanoes, had to wait until more serious business involving Mount Baker was dealt with.

The talk was a joint fund-raiser for MBVRC, the Concrete School Band, and KSVU Community Radio (90.1 on your dial in the Skagit). The speaker was MBVRC board member Dave Tucker, a Mount Baker researcher.

The Lower Baker Dam impounds Lake Shannon just above Concrete, Washington.

The Lower Baker Dam impounds Lake Shannon just above Concrete, Washington.

Virtually the entire audience, around 70-80 people, stuck around for a long question and answer period after. Many of the local residents were generally familiar with volcano hazards, and  there was an elevated level of concern about the impacts of a future Baker eruption on their community. Tucker pointed out that there are no Baker volcanic deposits known in the Concrete area, either lahar or ash deposits. However,  a number of residents expressed concern about the two Baker River hydroelectric dams above the town, and wondered what might happen to them in an eruption. Puget Sound Energy, owner of the dams is required to draw down reservoir levels in an effort to accommodate the volume of a lahar or glacial flood spawned by an eruption. That requirement would go into effect if seismic activity beneath the volcano indicates that eruption potential is elevated. However, in the worst case scenario, a lahar could race down the east flank of the volcano into the reservoirs after a gravity-induced collapse of the upper portion of Mount Baker, with no seismic precursory activity or eruption, and no opportunity to draw down the reservoirs. This would be a situation analogous to the Middle fork Nooksack lahar 6600 years ago. If the Baker and Shannon Reservoirs were full, influx of a high volume lahar could overtop one or both dams, which could present flood risks to the lower parts of the town.

T-shirt sales were brisk, and donations were made to MBVRC. Special thanks to Jon and Carol Turnbull of Gateway Septic for their cash donation to MBVRC. Also, many thanks to the energetic Concrete folks who organized this event- Valerie Stafford & Fred West at the Concrete Theatre, Jan & Keith Raschko, Bill Pfeifer, and John Boggs, who made the initial contacts with MBVRC at the Mount Vernon talk in January to promote a talk in Concrete. John Scurlock and Sue Madsen of the MBVRC were there to handle shirt sales (which were brisk) and inquiries.

UPCOMING PRESENTATIONS ON BAKER ERUPTION HISTORY AND HAZARDS:

ANACORTES, April 27 11:00 – 12:00. Doug McKeever, presenter. Friends of Skagit Beaches Fidalgo Academy. Go to their website for registration information.

MOUNT VERNON, May 16, Skagit Valley College, 7 PM. Dave Tucker, presenter. Stay tuned for details.

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