Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5208

Debris Flow from 2012 Failure of Moraine-Dammed Lake, Three Fingered Jack Volcano, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon

By David R. Sherrod and Barton B. Wills

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.9 MB)Abstract

In the late spring or early summer of 2012, a flood emanated from a small moraine-dammed lake on the northeast flank of Three Fingered Jack in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Channel erosion or slope collapse breached the natural dam of the lake, leading to a sudden lowering of lake level by 2.8 m and discharge of 12,700 cubic meters (m3) of water. The resulting debris flow formed a bouldery deposit extending about 0.35 km downslope.

The Three Fingered Jack debris flow is one of several that have issued from moraine-dammed lakes in the Oregon Cascade Range. A thorough summary of those lakes and the hazards associated with them was published in 2001, based largely on fieldwork by Jim O’Connor and Jasper Hardison in the early 1990s. Described here are details of the 2012 event, an update to the O’Connor story begun earlier.

First posted December 4, 2014

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

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Sherrod, D.R., and Wills, B.B., 2014, Debris flow from 2012 failure of moraine-dammed lake, Three Fingered Jack volcano, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5208, 13 p.

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)



Setting and Previous History

2012 Debris Flow

Cause and Timing of the Moraine-Dam Failure

Future Events


References Cited

Appendix A. Unrelated, Subsequent Snow Avalanche Dumped Trees onto the Snout of the Debris-Flow Deposit

Appendix B. Index

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Thursday, December 04, 2014, 05:02:45 PM