Magma at depth: A retrospective analysis of the 1975 unrest at Mount Baker, Washington, USA

Bulletin of Volcanology
By: , and 



Mount Baker volcano displayed a short interval of seismically-quiescent thermal unrest in 1975, with high emissions of magmatic gas that slowly waned during the following three decades. The area of snow-free ground in the active crater has not returned to pre-unrest levels, and fumarole gas geochemistry shows a decreasing magmatic signature over that same interval. A relative microgravity survey revealed a substantial gravity increase in the ~30 years since the unrest, while deformation measurements suggest slight deflation of the edifice between 1981-83 and 2006-07. The volcano remains seismically quiet with regard to impulsive volcano-tectonic events, but experiences shallow (<3 km) low-frequency events likely related to glacier activity, as well as deep (>10 km) long-period earthquakes. Reviewing the observations from the 1975 unrest in combination with geophysical and geochemical data collected in the decades that followed, we infer that elevated gas and thermal emissions at Mount Baker in 1975 resulted from magmatic activity beneath the volcano: either the emplacement of magma at mid-crustal levels, or opening of a conduit to a deep existing source of magmatic volatiles. Decadal-timescale, multi-parameter observations were essential to this assessment of magmatic activity.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Magma at depth: A retrospective analysis of the 1975 unrest at Mount Baker, Washington, USA
Series title Bulletin of Volcanology
DOI 10.1007/s00445-010-0441-0
Volume 73
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Cascades Volcano Observatory, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Volcano Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Bulletin of Volcanology
First page 175
Last page 189
Country United States
Other Geospatial Mount Baker Volcano
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