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Mount Baker

Find U.S. Volcano

Snow and ice-covered Mount Baker, located in northern Washington, is the highest peak in the North Cascades (3,286 m or 10,781 ft) and the northernmost volcano in the conterminous United States.

Quick Facts

Location: Washington, Whatcom County

Latitude: 48.777° N

Longitude: 121.813° W

Elevation: 3,286 (m) 10,781 (f)

Volcano type: Stratovolcano

Composition: Andesite

Most recent eruption: 6,700 years ago

Threat Potential: Very High*

*based on the National Volcano Early Warning System

Summary

Mount Baker
Mount Baker.

Mount Baker is the only U.S. volcano in the Cascade Range that has been affected by both alpine and continental glaciation. The stratovolcano is composed mainly of andesite lava flows and breccias and was largely formed prior to the most recent major glaciation (Fraser Glaciation), which occurred between about 25,000 and 10,000 years ago.

The most recent major eruption of Mount Baker, about 6,700 years ago, began with flank collapse events that resulted in lahars that moved down the Middle Fork and Nooksack Rivers as well as down the east flank (damming Baker River and creating Baker Lake) and ended with a widespread tephra fall. In 1975-76, Sherman Crater, immediately south of the summit, exhibited signs of renewed volcanic activity as a result of magma intruding into the volcano but not erupting. This activity resulted in monitoring that was more intense than previously applied at any other Cascade Range volcano and produced important baseline data against which recent research has been compared. Sherman Crater has been the site of increased steam emission since 1975.

Although monitoring was increased as a result to the 1975-76 activity, much of it has been dismantled and monitoring at Mount Baker is now insufficient due to the threat that renewed activity would pose to nearby communities and regional infrastructure. Mount Baker is one of several Cascade volcanoes that are high priority to have their monitoring systems enhanced in the coming years.

News

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Status of (mostly) Washington's Volcanoes: Report to Emergency Managers 2020-2021

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Which U.S. volcanoes pose a threat?

Publications

2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment

When erupting, all volcanoes pose a degree of risk to people and infrastructure, however, the risks are not equivalent from one volcano to another because of differences in eruptive style and geographic location. Assessing the relative threats posed by U.S. volcanoes identifies which volcanoes warrant the greatest risk-mitigation efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners. This update

Authors
John W. Ewert, Angela K. Diefenbach, David W. Ramsey

Science

Monitoring Chemistry and Temperature of Water at Mount Baker

By monitoring the changes in chemistry and temperature of water and steam at a volcano over time, scientists can obtain useful information about changes in volcanic activity.
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Monitoring Chemistry and Temperature of Water at Mount Baker

By monitoring the changes in chemistry and temperature of water and steam at a volcano over time, scientists can obtain useful information about changes in volcanic activity.
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Deformation monitoring at Mount Baker

Deformation monitoring at Mount Baker.
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Deformation monitoring at Mount Baker

Deformation monitoring at Mount Baker.
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Earthquake Monitoring at Mount Baker

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and CVO monitor seismicity at Mount Baker via a small network of two stations located within 20 km (12 miles) of the summit, as well as the broader regional PNSN network.
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Earthquake Monitoring at Mount Baker

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and CVO monitor seismicity at Mount Baker via a small network of two stations located within 20 km (12 miles) of the summit, as well as the broader regional PNSN network.
Learn More