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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Today is day 164 of 2024 and
day 256 of Water Year 2024
Welcome to! This site is an externally-accessible clearing house of static, real-time, non-real-time, and archived Mount Rainier geologic and geomorphic data used for geohazard awareness and mitigation. All data provided on this site are publicly-accessible non-sensitive scientific information collected by geologists at Mount Rainier National Park. Individual datasets are provided here for informational use only and are not guaranteed to be accurate or final versions - all data should be considered provisional unless otherwise noted.
As of: 06/12/2024 05:00 PM

51.3° F
Wind: W (266°) @ 8 G 13 mph
Snow Depth: 10 in (11% of normal)
24-hour Precip: 0.00 in

[ Observation | Forecast ]
As of: 06/06/2024 03:00 PM

72.8° F
Snow Depth: 1 in (0% of normal)
24-hour Precip: 1.37 in

[ Observation | Forecast ]
AT PARADISE (5,400')
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Mowich Face seen during an aerial reconnaissance flight (from a photo by Scott Beason on 02/10/2020)
Earthquakes in the last 30 days near Mount Rainier


  1. Tue, Jun 11, 2024, 04:05:45 GMT
    1 day 21 hours 12 minutes 54 seconds ago
    1.832 km (1.138 mi) SSW of summit
    Magnitude: 1.0
    Depth -1.7 km (-1.1 mi)
    View More Info

  2. Tue, Jun 11, 2024, 03:41:44 GMT
    1 day 21 hours 36 minutes 54 seconds ago
    13.431 km (8.345 mi) W of summit
    Magnitude: 1.4
    Depth 6.5 km (4.0 mi)
    View More Info

  3. Mon, Jun 10, 2024, 11:11:21 GMT
    2 days 14 hours 7 minutes 17 seconds ago
    14.702 km (9.135 mi) NW of summit
    Magnitude: 1.5
    Depth 9.4 km (5.8 mi)
    View More Info

  4. Mon, Jun 10, 2024, 05:57:44 GMT
    2 days 19 hours 20 minutes 54 seconds ago
    8.582 km (5.333 mi) WSW of summit
    Magnitude: 0.2
    Depth 3.1 km (1.9 mi)
    View More Info

  5. Sun, Jun 09, 2024, 09:59:01 GMT
    3 days 15 hours 19 minutes 38 seconds ago
    17.387 km (10.804 mi) WNW of summit
    Magnitude: 0.3
    Depth 12.5 km (7.8 mi)
    View More Info

Currently, this site has approximately
total data points in its database!
  1. Headman et al. (2017) A semi-automated methodology for using historical aerial photography to create high-resolution elevation and orthoimagery products of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA
    South Cascade Glacier has one of the longest vertical aerial photographic records of any glacier in the United States (1955-Present). Its 60 year annual and seasonal glacier mass balance record as part of the USGS Benchmark Glacier Program is theorized to be representative of alpine glacier change in mid-latitude maritime climates. Many historical aerial photographs of this glacier and others in Washington State have been scanned and made available as digital products. Recent efforts of the USGS Glaciers and Climate Program aim to create a semi-automated process to derive high resolution digital elevation models (DEM) and orthorectified imagery from these historical photographs. Using the Python library OpenCV, a semi-automated method was developed to batch process historical aerial imagery. Scanned photographs are rotated to reduce scaling issues, cropped to the same size to remove fiducials, and batch histogram equalization is applied to improve image quality and aid pixel-matching algorithms. Processed photographs are then passed to Agisoft Photoscan structure from motion (SfM) software through the Photoscan Python library to derive DEMs and orthoimagery. For ground control points (GCPs), photo-identifiable points are extracted from 2015 orthoimagery (0.22m vertical accuracy, 0.16m horizontal) to georeference the historical imagery. With the exception of the placement of GCPs, the process is entirely automated with Python. We have created a time-series of surface elevation change from historical imagery spanning 1955 to 2001. Elevation products derived from satellite imagery (2008-2016) are also co-registered to the 2015 survey to extend the record period to the present. This time-series is used to calculate the geodetic mass balance for South Cascade glacier. Preliminary results provide DEMs with 2 m spatial resolution and vertical accuracies of ~0.5m. We plan to collect better spatially-distributed GCPs in 2017 to decrease the products’ positional errors and uncertainties. Future endeavors and research include incorporating feature tracking and identification utilities from OpenCV to automate georeferencing. Using this method, we hope to expand this effort to other glaciers in the coterminous United States.
  2. Driedger et al. (2024) Lawetlat'la—Mount St. Helens—Land in Transformation
    This poster provides an overview of Mount St. Helens’ eruption history and emphasizes the continuous transformation of the volcanic landscape and its ecosystems. After each eruption, the landscape and ecosystems are not so much restored as they are morphed into new forms and patterns.
  3. Driedger et al. (2024) Following the tug of the audience from complex to simplified hazard maps at Cascade Range volcanoes
    Volcano-hazard maps are broadly recognized as important tools for forecasting and managing volcanic crises and for disseminating spatial information to authorities and people at risk. As scientists, we might presume that hazards maps can be developed at the time and with the methods of our discretion, yet the co-production of maps with stakeholder groups, who have programmatic needs of their own, can sway the timing, usability, and acceptance of map products. We examine two volcano hazard map-making efforts by staff at the U.S. Geological Survey. During the 1990s and early 2000s scientists developed a series of hazard assessments and maps with detailed zonations for volcanoes in Washington and Oregon. In 2009, the National Park Service expressed the need for simplified versions of the existing hazard maps for a high-profile visitor center exhibit. This request created an opportunity for scientists to rethink the objectives, scope, content, and map representations of hazards. The primary focus of this article is a discussion of processes used by scientists to distill the most critical information within the official parent maps into a series of simplified maps using criteria specified. We contextualize this project with information about development of the parent maps, public response to the simplified hazard maps, the value of user engagement in mapmaking, and with reference to the abundance of guidance available to the next generation of hazard-mapmakers. We argue that simplified versions of maps should be developed in tandem with any hazard maps that contain technical complexities, not as a replacement, but as a mechanism to broaden awareness of hazards. We found that when scientists endeavor to design vivid and easy-to-understand maps, people in many professions find uses for them within their organization’s information products, resulting in extensive distribution.
  4. Iverson and George (2024) Numerical modeling of debris flows: A conceptual assessment: Advances in debris-flow science and practice
    Real-world hazard evaluation poses many challenges for the development and application of numerical models of debris flows. In this chapter we provide a conceptual overview of physically based, depth-averaged models designed to simulate debris-flow motion across three-dimensional terrain. When judiciously formulated and applied, these models can provide useful information about anticipated depths, speeds, and extents of debris-flow inundation as well as debris interactions with structures such as levees and dams. Depth-averaged debris-flow models can differ significantly from one another, however. Some of the greatest differences result from simulation of one-phase versus two-phase flow, use of parsimonious versus information-intensive initial and boundary conditions, use of tuning coefficients versus physically measureable parameters, application of dissimilar numerical solution techniques, and variations in computational speed and model accessibility. This overview first addresses these and related attributes of depth-averaged debris-flow models. It then describes model testing and application to hazard evaluation, with a focus on our own model, D-Claw. The overview concludes with a discussion of outstanding challenges for development of improved debris-flow models and suggestions for prospective model users.
  5. Vallance (2024) Lahars: Origins, behavior and hazards: Advances in debris-flow science and practice
    Volcanic debris flows that originate at potentially active volcanoes are called lahars. Lahars are like debris flows in non-volcanic terrain but can most notably differ in origin and size. Primary lahars occur during eruptions and may have novel origins such as turbulent mixing of hot rock moving across ice- and snow-clad volcanoes and eruptions through crater lakes. Lahars range in volume to more than a cubic kilometer (109 m3), with the biggest ones caused by huge deep-seated flank collapses of water-saturated edifice rock. Because they can be so voluminous, can have high water contents, and commonly can be clay rich, these lahars can travel tens to even hundreds of kilometers. Long transport causes evolution of flow types from flood flow to hyperconcentrated flow to debris flow. Lahars capable of traveling far downstream are commonly sufficiently liquefied that they drape valley slopes and leave behind thin deposits as they pass downstream. Only in valley bottoms are lahars likely to emplace thick deposits, and even there the deposits are apt to be much thinner than peak flow depths. Flows with long transport change character with time and distance downstream. Deposits, especially those in valley bottoms, can accrete during intervals that represent a significant proportion of the time it takes the flow to pass (typically minutes). The combination of flows changing character and their progressive accretion imposes distinctive characteristics on their deposits such as normal and inverse grading. Historically, lahars have caused thousands of fatalities and destroyed entire towns. Perhaps the most disastrous known lahar occurred in 1985 at Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia and killed more than 23,000 people. Since that disaster, an increasing awareness of lahar hazards has led to efforts to mitigate them. In recent decades, improved land-use decisions, monitoring and communication have improved hazard responses and saved many lives. Lahar hazard maps and development of lahar inundation models have helped planners and people at risk to better understand the nature of the risk owing to lahars.
  6. Fuhrig et al. (2024) Evaluation of groundwater resources in the Upper White River Basin within Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, 2020
    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service, investigated groundwater gains and losses on the upper White River within Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. This investigation was conducted using stream discharge measurements at 14 locations within 7 reaches over a 6.5-mile river length from near the White River’s origin at the terminus of the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier to the White River Entrance near the northeast boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Locations selected for the stream discharge measurements were on the main channel of the White River and on tributary streams near their confluence with the White River. A soil-water-balance (SWB) model analysis was also performed on the White River basin to estimate groundwater recharge throughout the basin during the time of the study. Analyses were made for the White River basin at the sub-basin (zone) scale to determine groundwater input to the stream for individual stream reaches. The gridded SWB model was simulated at a 10-meter (m) horizontal resolution, where recharge simulations were constructed using five spatially distributed datasets. Daily climate data as input for the simulation included gridded daily precipitation and air temperature. Upon analysis of the seepage run results, three of the seven reaches showed groundwater gains in this study. The SWB model results were used in conjunction with the baseflow gain totals in the reaches to estimate the length of time for recharge to become base flow. Further analysis estimated the rates of groundwater flow in the zones with adjacent gaining reaches. A streamflow gain curve was created from a simple flow model for each of the zones to relate the recharge from the zones to the adjacent reaches on the White River and tributaries. The fit of the streamflow gain curve to the calculated streamflow gain during the seepage run was used to analyze where the recharge from each zone resulted as streamflow gain. Consecutive reach losses from zones D and L were immediately followed downstream by a relatively large gain in zone GH, indicating that the gain in the reach adjacent to zone GH could be from the recharge in zones D and L.

View More Publications...

August 5, 2019 Tahoma Creek Debris Flow
Posted on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 17:00 by Scott Beason. Updated on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 17:00

The 32nd recorded debris flow in Tahoma Creek occurred on August 5, 2019, between 6:44 PM PDT (8/6/2019 01:55 UTC) - 8:10 PM PDT (8/6/2019 03:10 UTC), as observed on the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's (PNSN) Emerald Ridge (RER) seismograph. The event began as a sudden and significant change in the primary outlet stream from the terminus of the South Tahoma Glacier. This change caused a surge of water to go over loose, steep and unconsolidated sediment-rich areas just downstream of the terminus. Debris flow deposits were observed approximately 4 miles downstream at the Tahoma Creek Trail trailhead (an area affectionally known in the park as 'barrel curve'). The event is still being investigated... a good photo set (with a few videos) is available here: If you would like to view more information about the event, click here: If you were in the area of the South Tahoma Glacier or Tahoma Creek on the evening of August 5 and/or morning of August 6, and have any interesting observations, please send them to Scott Beason.

New Camp Schurman weather station added!
Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2019, 14:17 by Scott Beason. Updated on Tue, Jul 23, 2019, 14:17

A new weather station has been added to Click the following link to see hourly data from Camp Schurman on the NE side of Mount Rainier's volcanic edifice at 9,500 feet:

Longmire RSAM Down
Posted on Wed, Jul 10, 2019, 05:00 by Scott Beason. Updated on Wed, Jul 10, 2019, 05:00

The Longmire (LON) seismograph has been reporting ground vibrations from a construction project in the area near the seismograph. In order to prevent erroneous debris flow alerts, the RSAM (debris flow detection) analysis has been disabled. The system will be restored once the construction project has been completed.


U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, January 5, 2024, 1:47 PM PST (Friday, January 5, 2024, 21:47 UTC)

Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

Activity Update: All volcanoes in the Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington are at normal background activity levels. These include Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams in Washington State and Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry, and Crater Lake in Oregon.

Past Week Observations: During the past week, small earthquakes were detected at Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. All monitoring data are consistent with background activity levels in the Cascades Range.

The U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory and the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismic Network continue to monitor Washington and Oregon volcanoes closely and will issue additional notifications as warranted.

Website Resources

For images, graphics, and general information on Cascade Range volcanoes:
For seismic information on Oregon and Washington volcanoes:
For information on USGS volcano alert levels and notifications:


Jon Major, Scientist-in-Charge, Cascades Volcano Observatory,

General inquiries: