Volcanism and its interaction with snow and ice at Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Registration for this fieldtrip closes May 1, 2017

Pre-meeting field trip, August 8-13; max/min participations 22/8

This excursion will examine volcanism, glaciation and hazards at ice-clad Mount Rainier. The Pacific Northwest’s iconic volcano towers more than 4,000 m above surrounding lowlands and is centered in a spectacularly scenic National Park. Because of its prominence and its threat to communities downstream, Mount Rainier was targeted for intensive study as a Decade Volcano in the 1990’s as part of the UN’s International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, and Mount Rainier has continued to be a focus for scientific research since that time. Mount Rainier has been mapped and its post-glacial history delineated in great detail. Extensive glacier ice has influenced lava-flow emplacement at the volcano, contributed to hydrothermal alteration, and greatly enhanced the volcano’s propensity to produce far-traveled lahars.  Principal topics during the trip will include: (1) growth patterns of the volcano during its 500-ka lifespan; (2) regional and alpine glaciation; (3) lava-ice interaction; (4) hydrothermal alteration and its relationship to dikes and glacier ice; (5) Holocene volcanism; (6) lahar genesis and flow processes; and (7) volcano hazards. 

Trip begins at noon on Tuesday August 8 with pickup in the Portland Oregon area (location to be announced) and drop off at the Oregon Convention Center in time for the icebreaker on Sunday August 13th. The trip involves strenuous hiking three of the five days. Participants need to be able to hike up to 15 kilometers (10 miles) (round trip) on steep trails with up to 700 m (2,200 feet) of relief.

Estimated cost:
$830 (shared room at Paradise Inn) or $985 (single room at Paradise Inn).  Fee includes three nights at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and two nights at Paradise Inn, transportation, breakfast and lunch, but not dinner.  Dinner and libations are available at or within walking distance of our lodging.  Note that we have only 6 two-bed rooms available at Paradise Inn, so the lower rate is limited to 12 persons.

Jim Vallance, U.S. Geological Survey; jvallance@usgs.gov
Tom Sisson, U.S. Geological Survey; tsisson@usgs.gov