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  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 48.777°N
  • 121.813°W

  • 3285 m
    10775 ft

  • 321010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Baker.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Baker.

Index of Monthly Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

03/1975 (CSLP 26-75) Increased fumarolic activity and new fumaroles

07/1975 (CSLP 26-75) New crater lake observed; significant melting

08/1975 (CSLP 26-75) Continued high fumarolic activity; clusters of hundred of new fumaroles

Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

03/1975 (CSLP 26-75) Increased fumarolic activity and new fumaroles

Card 2132 (28 March 1975) Increased fumarolic activity and new fumaroles

Reports were received beginning on the evening of 10 March 1975, of larger than normal amounts of vapor from Sherman Crater, which is known to have contained a fumarole field since the latter 1800's. Aerial photographs taken 11 March show two new clusters of fumaroles which perforate through snow and ice in Sherman Crater. Semi-circular crevasses in the crater were apparent and seemed to be related to ice subsidence.

A thin swath of gray debris, partly covered by new snow, extended 100-300 m outside the E, S, and W part of the crater rim. A small lake within one of the ice perforations was observed by air on 11 and 13 March. On 20 March, ground observers examined Boulder Creek, down valley from the drainage outlet of the Sherman Crater rim and reported no flooding but highly acidic (pH = 3.7) and sulfur-smelling water. Large amounts of steam were seen when the mountain again was visible on 24 March.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists is mobilizing to determine the significance of the new thermal activity.

Information Contacts: David Frank, University of Washington; Mark F. Miller, USGS.

07/1975 (CSLP 26-75) New crater lake observed; significant melting

Card 2219 (14 July 1975) Aerial observations; new crater lake

A photo flight under dull, high overcast was made between 1500 and 1530 over Mt. Baker on 3 July 1975. Vertical photos with a K-17, 6" lens of Sherman Crater, Dorr Fumarole Field and later, McAllister, Klawatti, Boston, and South Cascade glaciers, plus numerous 35 mm oblique color views were taken.

Steam activity at the fumarole sites including Dorr Fumraole Field was the lowest we have observed in recent months, possibly due to atmospheric conditions. This allowed a close examination of many openings, particularly the E breach area of the crater, and here a new crater lake was observed in a large ice cavern located NE of the central pit about midway between the E breach and the N pit. The lake color was a muddy brown, in contrast to the pale green of the central lake. It appeared to be at least 20 m across, and of undetermined length. Most of the ice bridge covering the new lake appeared to be quite thick and ice encroaching from the N slope may delay its collapse for weeks or even months.

No new large openings were observed in the E breach area where the snow was completely covered with a heavy, continuous layer of brown/gray mud. The ice was melting away from the rocks on either side exposing openings which appeared to connect with the subglacial opening following the outlet stream, possibly due to thermal heat in the rocks. A crevasse near the head of Boulder Glacier, which probably spans the subglacial outlet stream from the crater, appeared to open into an extensive cavern below. No steam was observed from this potentially large opening.

Card 2227 (21 July 1975) Rapid melting of ice and snow

A photo flight with clear skies was made between 1530 and 1600 over Mt. Baker on 9 July 1975. The temperature at 4,000 m was +10°C and extremely rapid snow and ice melt was in progress; Glacier Creek in particular was a brown, raging flood. The effects of snow melt were very noticeable on the upper part of the mountain, seasonal snow having disappeared from most rock areas and last year's snow surface being exposed on areas subject to wind scour. Other evidence of very thin snow on the upper mountain was the reappearance of traces of the rim of the true Summit Crater in the Roman Wall vicinity, a feature which has been snow-covered when photographed later than in the 1940's.

In the six days since observing the mountain, changes in the Sherman Crater area were notable. Fragments of ice falling into the central pit covered most of the bottom and these either filled most of the lake or the lake had largely drained. The new lake observed 3 July was completely obscured by collapse of the entrance of the ice cavern in which it was located. No doubt due in part to the very rapid surface melting in progress, rocks within the crater recently exposed by sliding of the ice off the slopes were much more visible.

The most noteworthy change outside the crater was the collapse of the ice covering a cavity noted in a crevasse near the head of Boulder Glacier observed on 3 July. More important, although visible steam activity within the crater was low as on 3 July and the Dorr Fumarole Field was notable by a nearly complete absence of visible steam, fog-like vapor was observed in the highest crevasse on Boulder Glacier near the area of ice collapse. These together strongly suggest that a fumarole has developed in this critical area situated immediately below Sherman Peak and Lahar Lookout.

Information Contacts:
Card 2219 (14 July 1975) Austin Post, USGS.
Card 2227 (21 July 1975) Austin Post, USGS.

08/1975 (CSLP 26-75) Continued high fumarolic activity; clusters of hundred of new fumaroles

Card 2244 (07 August 1975) Continued high fumarolic activity; clusters of hundred of new fumaroles

All available evidence shows that the March increase in fumarolic activity at Mount Baker has not diminished and in some aspects has continued to increase. Since the initial ground investigation on 28 March, various university and federal scientists have installed instrumentation to begin intensive volcano monitoring.

Clusters of hundreds of new fumaroles have at least doubled the area of snow-free ground and have melted large ice pits in the normally glacier-filled Sherman Crater. Two of the new ice pits contain shallow lakes, one of which was 34°C on 11 June. Acid water from the lakes and from other snowmelt in the crater drains into the Boulder Creek valley on the east side of the volcano where water quality is presently monitored.

As ice cover in the crater melts, new clusters of fumaroles continue to appear. One main fumarole which was about 1 m in diameter in March has developed into a 1 x 5 m fissure. Accessible fumaroles have had temperatures at boiling, 90-91°C; but the main fumarole remains inaccessible. Continual ash emission from this as well as some of the other fumaroles has coated snow in the Sherman Crater area with a gray blanket at least 1 cm thick. Several analyses of the ash show it to be composed largely of secondary minerals, old rock fragments, and pyrite-covered sulfur droplets. A very small fraction of vesicular glass in some ash samples is currently thought to be reworked older material.

Continuously-telemetered seismic data from a station on the Sherman Crater rim and from a station at a lower elevation show intermittent variations in high-frequency background noise and a few local transient seismic events. No strong seismic trend has yet been detected. Furthermore, a hydrogen and temperature sensor, several tilt and gravity stations, and time-lapse cameras have not been in operation long enough to show definite trends. Additional monitoring includes aerial photographic, thermographic, and sulfur surveys.

The other large thermal area on Mount Baker, the Dorr fumarole field on the N side of the cone, has not yet shown significant changes in activity compared to previous years.

Information Contacts: David Frank, Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington; Stephen D. Malone, University of Washington.

Mount Baker, the northernmost of Washington's volcanoes, is a 3285-m-high glacier-clad andesitic stratovolcano constructed above the east flank of the eroded mid-Pleistocene Black Buttes volcano and SW of the early Pleistocene 4.5 x 8 km rhyodacitic Kulshan caldera. With the exception of the Schreibers Meadow cinder cone on the SE flank, which formed about 9800 years ago, Holocene volcanism has been confined to the central conduit. A major magmatic eruption at Mount Baker about 6500 years ago was the largest eruptive event at the volcano during the Holocene and was accompanied by a major collapse event that produced a lahars down the Nooksack drainage. Early settlers in the Puget Sound region as far away as Victoria, British Columbia observed 19th-century activity, all of which consisted of relatively minor phreatic eruptions. Sherman Crater, the historically active crater immediately south of the summit, has been the site of increased steam emission since 1975.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1884 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
1880 Sep 7 1880 Nov 27 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
1870 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
[ 1869 Jun ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
[ 1867 Mar ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
[ 1865 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
1863 Jul Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
[ 1860 Dec ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
1859 Nov 1860 Apr 26 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
1858 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
[ 1856 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
1854 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
1852 Dec 1 ± 30 days 1853 Jan (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
[ 1850 Mar ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Sherman Crater
[ 1846 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
1843 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Sherman Crater
1820 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1792 Jun ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
4550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Sherman Crater?
7850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) South flank (Schreibers Meadow Cone)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Koma Kulshan | Kulshan | Carmelo, la montana del | Quick-Sman-Ik | Tukullum | Puk'h'kowitz

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Black Buttes Stratovolcano 2875 m 48° 46' 18" N 121° 50' 33" W
Chowder Ridge Stratovolcano 2291 m 48° 48' 51" N 121° 49' 16" W
Landes Cleaver Vent 2110 m 48° 48' 12" N 121° 47' 1" W
Lava Divide Stratovolcano 2175 m 48° 47' 36" N 121° 47' 7" W
Schreibers Meadow Cone Cinder cone 1110 m 48° 41' 57" N 121° 49' 2" W

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Carmelo Crater Crater 3285 m 48° 46' 36" N 121° 48' 47" W
Kulshan Caldera Pleistocene caldera 1988 m 48° 50' 0" N 121° 43' 0" W
Sherman Crater Crater 2900 m 48° 46' 0" N 121° 49' 0" W

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Baker Hot Springs Hot Spring 490 m 48° 46' 0" N 121° 40' 0" W
Dorr Fumarole Field Fumarole 2400 m
Mount Baker, seen here from the dairy farms of Whatcom County to the west, is a prominent landmark visible from much of NW Washington and SW British Columbia. The volcano was sighted in 1792 from the Straits of Juan de Fuca by Joseph Baker, the cartographer on the voyage of Captain George Vancouver, who then named the volcano after Baker. Nineteenth-century eruptions were visible from as far away as Victoria Island, across the Puget Sound.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1972 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier-covered Mount Baker, the centerpiece of the Mount Baker Wilderness Area, is seen here from Twin Lakes on the north. Sherman Crater, the source of historical eruptions from Mount Baker, appears from this perspective on the left side between the summit and the small sharp-topped Sherman Peak. The older dissected Black Buttes volcano forms the two sharp peaks below and to the right of the summit.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1971 (Smithsonian Institution).
Evening alpenglow colors the glaciers of Mount Baker, seen from the Glacier Creek valley on the NW side. The most popular climbing route on Mount Baker was used on the first ascent of the volcano by the climbing party of Edmund Coleman during a two-week expedition out of Victoria, British Columbia in 1868. It ascends the Coleman Glacier in the right center of the photo to Coleman Saddle, located between the summit and Colfax Peak on the right. The active Sherman Crater is on the opposite SE side of the summit.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1972 (Smithsonian Institution).
Early morning light gilds the glacier-clad surface of Mount Baker during a climb of neighboring Mount Shuksan. The spire in the shadow at the left consists of metamorphosed basaltic rocks forming the Shuksan Greenschist. The area in the sunlight at the right side of the photo below the horizon is the recently discovered Pleistocene Kulshan Caldera, which preceded the construction of Mount Baker. The 4.5 x 8 km caldera is largely filled by up to 1000 m of non-welded rhyodacitic tuffs and is capped by lava flows.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1971 (Smithsonian Institution).
This mid-summer aerial view from the SE shows the extensive glacial cover on Mount Baker. Twelve glaciers blanket the volcano with 114 sq km of ice--the largest glacial icecap of any Cascade volcano, including Mount Rainier. The dissected older Black Buttes volcano in the left background rises behind the smooth southern slopes of Mount Baker. Part of Sherman Crater, the historically active vent of Mount Baker, is lit by the sun just below the summit, to the right of Sherman Peak.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1972 (Smithsonian Institution).
An aerial view from the SW shows the Deming Glacier excavating a deep valley below Lincoln (left) and Colfax Peaks, dissected remnants of the Pleistocene Black Buttes volcano. Lavas from Black Buttes volcano, active from about 500,000 to 300,000 years ago, dip towards Mount Baker, whose flat-topped summit appears at the upper right, with Sherman Crater in the shadow to its right. Easton Glacier, named after the historian Charles F. Easton, blankets the southern flank of the volcano.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1972 (Smithsonian Institution).
The flat-topped ridge at the left-center is Table Mountain, seen here in a telephoto view from Skyline Divide. Table Mountain is a stack of andesitic lava flows, each about 100 m thick, that was erupted from vents along the northern side of the Pleistocene Kulshan caldera, whose buried northern rim lies near the left-hand margin of the Table Mountain lava flows. The spectacular glacier-clad slopes of Mt. Shuksan form the right horizon, and Icy Peak at the head of the North Fork Nooksack drainage lies beyond it on the left-center horizon.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1979 (Smithsonian Institution).
Mount Baker, the northernmost of Washington's active volcanoes, is a glacier-clad stratovolcano that is a prominent landmark in the northern Cascade Range. Seen here from the SE above Baker Lake, Baker was observed in eruption from a Spanish exploring vessel in 1792. Historical eruptions have originated from Sherman Crater, the dark area to the left of the summit. Minor phreatic explosions were observed during the 19th century by early settlers in the Puget Sound area as far away as Victoria, British Columbia.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1981 (Smithsonian Institution).
The low, forested hill occupying the valley floor at the left center of the photo is Schreibers Meadow Cone on the SE flank of Mount Baker. The cinder cone erupted about 9800 years ago, producing a scoria deposit and a lava flow that traveled 12 km to the present location of Baker Lake. The sharp barren ridge in the foreground is a glacial moraine from Mount Baker known as the "Railroad Grade."

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1981 (Smithsonian Institution).
Photos taken from Lahar Lookout near the summit of Mount Baker in August 1974 (left) and August 1975 (right) show the result of a period of increased thermal emission from Mount Baker that began in 1975. The enhanced heat flux dramatically increased melting and crevassing in the Sherman Crater icepack; vigorous new fumaroles are visible at the lower left and upper right. Periodic steam emission produced steam plumes that rose several hundred meters above the crater.

Photos by U.S. Geological Survey.
The north face of Mount Baker is seen from Skyline Divide with the twin peaks of the Pleistocene Black Buttes volcano on the right horizon. Chowder Ridge extends across the middle part of the image in front of Black Buttes from the right-hand margin to Mt. Hadley, the peak below the flat-topped summit of Baker. The ridge is named for its marine brachiopod fossils and is cut by numerous dikes, the feeders for a large early and mid-Pleistocene volcanic center that has been almost entirely stripped away by Pleistocene continental ice sheets.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1979 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier-clad Mount Baker rises above autumn leaves lining the valley of the North Fork Nooksack River below the volcano's NW flank. The Nooksack Indians referred to the volcano as Kweq Smaenit, the "White Mountain." Neighboring Lummi Indians knew Mount Baker as Koma Kulshan ("Shot at the Point"), from a legend in which the the Great Spirit shot the volcano with fire from heaven, inflicting a wound that bled, burned, and smoked, a possible reference to the volcano's smoking summit crater.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1973 (Smithsonian Institution).
Mount Baker stratovolcano in the North Cascades rises 1500 m above a dissected basement complex of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, exposed at Dock Butte in the foreground. On the left skyline is the glacially eroded core of the Pleistocene Black Buttes stratovolcano, a predecessor to Mount Baker. From left to right, the Deming, Easton, Squock, Talum, Boulder, and Park Glaciers drape the volcano's flanks.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
The north face of Mount Baker towers above Cockscomb Ridge. Roosevelt Glacier descends from the flat-topped summit of the volcano. The Dole Fumarole Field on the northern flank is located below a point a little more than halfway down the left-hand horizon, near where the shadow line on the Mazama Glacier (center) takes a sharp bend. William Henry Dorr first reported vapor emission at this location in 1884; fumarolic activity continues today.

Photo by Bill Chadwick, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
Two U.S. Geological Survey volcanologists (left center) take gas samples from a steaming fumarole, one of many lining the wall of Sherman Crater in 1981. Increased steaming, which began from Sherman Crater in 1975, continues. The crater walls consist of brightly colored areas of hydrothermally altered rocks.

Photo by Bill Chadwick, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
A geologist examines a sulfur-encrusted fumarole mound at Sherman Crater in 1981. Greatly increased thermal emission beginning in 1975 melted glacier ice in Sherman Crater and created many new fumaroles. Steam plumes are occasionally visible from the Puget lowlands.

Photo by Bill Chadwick, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
Colfax Peak (center) is an erosional remnant of Black Buttes volcano, a predecessor to Mount Baker. Black Buttes volcano was active from about 500,000 to 300,000 years ago. Coleman Saddle (right center) divides the NE-dipping lavas of Black Buttes from Mount Baker, whose summit lies out of view to the upper right. Easton Glacier descends diagonally across the photo to the SW.

Photo by Bill Chadwick, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
The historically active crater of Mount Baker, seen here from the NE rim of the Pleistocene Kulshan Caldera, lies between the summit and Sherman Peak (left horizon). The snow-mantled slopes in the foreground are located within Kulshan Caldera, which remained undiscovered until the 1990s because associated pyroclastic-flow and -fall deposits outside the caldera had been removed by Pleistocene glaciers. Steep-sided Coleman Pinnacle (right center) is a remnant of a post-caldera fissure-fed lava flow.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1974 (Smithsonian Institution).
Mount Baker forms a prominent landmark visible throughout much of the northern Puget Sound region. It's glacier-clad slopes rise above Bellingham Bay, as seen here from Mount Constitution on Orcas Island. Lummi Island, another of the San Juan Islands, forms the forested ridge extending across the center of the photo. The Twin Sisters massif, formed of olivine-rich ultramafic rocks derived from the Earth's mantle, is located immediately SW (right) of Mount Baker.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Coombs H A, 1939. Mount Baker, a Cascade volcano. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 50: 1493-1510.

Coombs H A, Howard A D, 1960. United States of America. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 9: 1-68.

Frank D, 1983. Origin, distribution, and rapid removal of hydrothermally formed clay at Mount Baker, Washington. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 1022-E: 1-31.

Gardner C A, Scott K M, Miller C D, Myers B, Hildreth W, Pringle P T, 1995. Potential volcanic hazards from future activity of Mount Baker, Washington. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rpt, 95-498: 1-16.

Harris S L, 1988. Fire Mountains of the West: the Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press, 379 p.

Hildreth W E, 2007. Quaternary magmatism in the Cascades--geologic perpectives. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 1744: 1-125.

Hildreth W E, Fierstein J, Lanphere M, 2003. Eruptive history and chronology of the Mount Baker volcanic field, Washington. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 115: 729-764.

Hildreth W, Lanphere M A, Champion D E, Fierstein J, 2004. Rhyodacites of Kulshan caldera, North Cascades of Washington: postcaldera lavas that span the Jaramillo. J Volc Geotherm Res, 130: 227-264.

Hyde J H, Crandell D R, 1978. Postglacial volcanic deposits at Mount Baker, Washington, and potential hazards from future eruptions. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 1022-C: 1-17.

Majors H M (ed), 1978. Mount Baker: a Chronicle of its Historic Eruptions and First Ascent. Seattle: Northwest Press, 221 p.

Scott K M, Hildreth W E, Gardner C A, 2000. Mount Baker--living with an active volcano. U S Geol Surv Fact Sheet, 059-00: 1-4.

Tucker D S, Scott K M, 2009. Structures and facies associated with a flow of subaerial basaltic lava into a deep freshwater lake: the Sulphur Creek lava flow, North Cascades, Washington. J Volc Geotherm Res, 185: 311-322.

Werner C, Evans W C, Poland M, Tucker D S, Doukas M P, 2009. Long-term changes in quiescent degassing at Mount Baker volcano, Washington, USA; evidence for a stalled intrusion in 1975 and connection to a deep magma source. J Volc Geotherm Res, 186: 379-386.

Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Baker Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.