Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mazama Ash From Crater Lake Volcano Eruption

  Cascade volcanic ash layers have been a big help to scientists working in the Columbia Basin for many years. The Mazama Ash layer featured here is too young to help date Ice Age Floods but has been valuable to those that study early human history in the West.

  Nick Zentner (CWU Geology) and I are working on a series of short videos with focus on geology along Interstate 90 between Seattle and Spokane. Below you'll find the first episode.

Hope you enjoy the video! Click arrow above to play.

  If you drive I-90 between Seattle and Spokane ... Maybe you've wondered about the white layer in the exposed bank just east of Kittitas, WA.

Mazama Ash layer near Kittitas, WA.
Mazama Ash layer exposed east of Kittitas, WA - along Interstate 90.

  Ash deposited here is 300 miles from a very famous source:
Crater Lake National Park!!! 

Crater Lake National Park- USGS photo.
Crater Lake fills caldera of destroyed volcano - Mount Mazama.

Must have been one heck of an explosion 7,700 years ago!!!

Mazama ash map.
Ballpark ash distribution map - Mazama and 1980 Mount St. Helens.

Mount St. Helens eruption.
Mount St. Helens eruption 1980 - USGS

Mount St. Helens ash.
1980 Mount St. Helens ash layer between Ellensburg and Vantage.

 Mazama layer in ocean core samples helping to date big earthquakes.

Chris Goldfinger's Pacific core sample work: Discoveries Beneath the Sea.

Hells Canyon Mazama Ash layer along the Snake River.
Mazama Ash layer above Snake River in Hells Canyon

   The Mazama exposure featured in our video has been verified by the USGS. The ash layer in this photo taken near Pittsburg Landing is identified in several guidebooks as Mazama.

Photos from Hells Canyon Hike

Volcanic ash layer.
  Missoula Flood deposits sit on top of 15,400-year-old Mount St. Helens ash layer. 

Richard Waitt USGS - Interview

  Advance to 18 minute mark in video to hear Richard describe how Cascade ash layers helped him understand Ice Age Flood rhythmites in the Columbia Basin and realize that at least 40 huge Ice Age Floods swept through the Channeled Scablands and filled the Pasco Basin.

  Volcanic Ash from Cascade volcanoes now seems to be big concern at Hanford vitrification plant:

Tom Foster, Tom Tabbert and Nick Zentner.
Tom Foster, Tom Tabbert and Nick Zentner

Tabbert helps us out with with aerial footage. Thanks Tom!

Mazama Ash.
Nick Zentner and Mazama Ash layer.


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