Bathymetric map and area/capacity table for Castle Lake, Washington

Open-File Report 2017-1145
By:  and 



The May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens produced a 2.5-cubic-kilometer debris avalanche that dammed South Fork Castle Creek, causing Castle Lake to form behind a 20-meter-tall blockage. Risk of a catastrophic breach of the newly impounded lake led to outlet channel stabilization work, aggressive monitoring programs, mapping efforts, and blockage stability studies. Despite relatively large uncertainty, early mapping efforts adequately supported several lake breakout models, but have limited applicability to current lake monitoring and hazard assessment. Here, we present the results of a bathymetric survey conducted in August 2012 with the purpose of (1) verifying previous volume estimates, (2) computing an area/capacity table, and (3) producing a bathymetric map. Our survey found seasonal lake volume ranges between 21.0 and 22.6 million cubic meters with a fundamental vertical accuracy representing 0.88 million cubic meters. Lake surface area ranges between 1.13 and 1.16 square kilometers. Relationships developed by our results allow the computation of lake volume from near real-time lake elevation measurements or from remotely sensed imagery.

Suggested Citation

Mosbrucker, A.R., and Spicer, K.R., 2017, Bathymetric map and area/capacity table for Castle Lake, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1145, 22 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Acquisition, Processing, and Integration
  • Accuracy Assessment
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Bathymetric map and area/capacity table for Castle Lake, Washington
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2017-1145
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171145
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description iv, 22 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Castle Lake
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details