Mount Baker Essay

1693 words - 7 pages

I decided for my project that I would spend the time researching Mount Baker. Mount Baker is located about 30 miles east of Bellingham, Washington. The Cascade Mountain range extends over 140 miles between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada. Mount Baker is a Stratovolcano, which is also known as a composite volcano, it is also the highest peak in the North Cascades and the fifth highest in the Cascade mountain range (Volcano Hazards Programs). Cities located near Mount Baker include Abbotsford, British Columbia and Bellingham, Washington. The closest stream to the mountain is the Nooksack River which runs near the west side of the mountain. On the southwest side of the mountain is ...view middle of the document...

Typically, the rocks that I saw were mafic and to me I noticed the best rock exposures on the drive up to the top of the mountain. As I looked out the window, I saw walls of rocks all over the place. I also saw a lot of good rock exposure on the top of the mountain where the rock was to steep for the snow to stick to. You will notice that Mount Baker has an abundance of all sorts of rocks. From the rocks I examined I observed a lot of extrusive igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rocks and you will find few places where you can walk continuously from shale or basalt into well-metamorphosed gneiss (Tabor & Haugerud). I observed rocks such as gabbro, shale, and types of extrusive and intrusive igneous rock such as basalt. The ages of the rocks range from about as old as the mountain, which is about 140,000 years old.
When you look at a topographic map of Mount Baker, you will notice many different structures and interesting landforms. The first thing I noticed when I was observing the map were all the different peaks within the mountain. From what I have been reading I have found two major faults that are within Mount Baker. These two faults are the Straight Creek Fault and the Ross Lake Fault Zone; these faults are thought to be primarily strike-slip. In addition, on the geologic map you will notice the Sherman Crater, which originated from a large hydrovolcanic explosion (Tabor, Haugerud, Hildreth, & Brown). This crater is responsible for many of Mount Bakers past lahars that have flowed down the mountain and into Baker Lake. The pattern of hills, valleys, ridges, and canyons are influenced by the orientation of rock layers.
Geologic History:
Mount Baker is a glaciated stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc (USGS). The Cascade Range is formed along a convergent plate boundary. Located near active plates, which consists of the Juan de Fuca plate and the North American plate. These plates move toward each other creating an ocean-continental convergence. The Juan de Fuca plate is subducting under the northerly portion of the western side of the North American Plate. The subducting of the plate beneath the other is what caused the mountain to form 140,000 years ago. The mountain itself is a main geologic feature that directly relates back to tectonic plates because Mount Baker was formed by the colliding and subducting of the two plates. Because Mount Baker resides on a subduction zone, many of the rocks were formed because of flux melting. Volcanic activity in the Mount Baker area began more than one million years ago, but many of the earliest lava and tephra deposits have been removed by glacial erosion (Tabor, Haugerud, Hildreth, & Brown). You will notice pale colored rocks on the northeast side of the volcano this shows the spot of a Caldera that collapsed after a massive ash eruption that took place around one million years ago. The landscape of Mount Baker is influenced by rocks because of the terrain and the...

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