Hydrology of the Castle Lake blockage, Mount St Helens, Washington

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4272
By:  and 



The debris avalanche that occurred during the May 19, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens blocked South Fork Castle Creek and created Castle Lake. Stability of the blockage was of concern, and a digital model that simulates three-dimensional groundwater movement in the blockage was constructed as part of the analysis used in a follow-up study that assessed the blockage 's stability. Slug test results in the debris avalanche deposits and model results indicate that the average horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the blockage material is approximately 2.5 ft/day, whereas the ratio of horizontal to vertical hydraulic conductivity is approximately 10 to 1. The model was calibrated to seasonally high groundwater levels and groundwater discharge. Model-predicted recharge rates for this time period were 0.97 cu ft/sec. Most of the recharge (81%) results from the infiltration of precipitation, whereas discharge by seeps through the blockage accounts for 81% of the total discharge. Because water levels under the crest of the blockage are higher than lake level, the movement of groundwater is toward the lake and the toe of the blockage. The model allows the water levels to be estimated at any location in the blockage. This information is required for making estimates of the stability of the blockage against failure by gravitational-induced or earthquake-induced slope failure, liquefaction, the process of seepage erosion, or by erosion. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrology of the Castle Lake blockage, Mount St Helens, Washington
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 87-4272
DOI 10.3133/wri874272
Edition -
Year Published 1989
Language ENGLISH
Publisher Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey : Books and Open-File Reports [distributor],
Description iv, 25 p. :ill. ;28 cm.
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