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Open-File Report 95–498

Potential Volcanic Hazards from Future Activity of Mount Baker, Washington

By Cynthia A. Gardner, Kevin M. Scott, C. Dan Miller, Bobbie Myers, Wes Hildreth, and Patrick T. Pringle

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (0.5 MB)Introduction

Mount Baker is an active volcano. Its most recent activity was in the mid-1800s at a time when permanent populations around its base were few and infrastructures, such as roads, powerlines and other structures, were virtually non-existent. Although most of the area adjacent to Mount Baker is still largely unpopulated (much of the mountain is in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest), population patterns and infrastructure are much different than 150 years ago, and each year greater and greater numbers of people live and play in areas that could be affected by future volcanic activity. This report discusses the types of volcanic events that are likely to affect the region.

The primary purpose of this report is to provide planners, emergency management personnel, and federal and state agencies with information regarding eruptive and other hazardous geologic processes that will likely occur at Mount Baker in the future. Hopefully it will also be of interest to the general public. A hazard-zonation map accompanies this report and designates areas that will most likely be affected by such processes. Much of the geologic rationale for the hazard designations is from work by Hyde and Crandell (1978) and from ongoing hydrologic and geologic investigations by K.M. Scott and W. Hildreth.

Throughout this report a distinction is made between magmatic and nonmagmatic volcanic activity. Magmatic activity involves magma (molten rock and associated gases) reaching the surface whereas nonmagmatic activity does not. The reason for this distinction is that the movement of magma can usually be detected through volcano monitoring; therefore, there is generally some warning prior to a magmatic event. In the case of nonmagmatic events, such as the generation of debris flows, there is generally no movement of magma and an event may not be detected until it occurs. Thus volcanic activity not directly related to an eruption also poses a serious threat.

Link to the Data

Links to the Other Hazard Assessments

First posted ~2010
Revised September 20, 2013

For additional information:
Contact CVO
Volcano Science Center, Cascades Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100
Vancouver, WA 98683-9589

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Gardner, C.A., Scott, K.M., Miller, C.D., Myers, B., Hildreth, W., and Pringle, P.T., 1995, Potential volcanic hazards from future activity of Mount Baker, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 95–498, 16 p., 1 plate, scale 1:100,000,



Geologic and Geographic Setting

Volcanic Phenomena-Products and Their Associated Hazards

Hazard-Zonations Map

Volcanic Monitoring and Eruption Response



References and Additional Reading

One plate

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