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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Pyroclastic deposits of recent age at Mount Rainier, Washington

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Author(s): Dwight R. Crandell, Donal R. Mullineaux, Robert D. Miller, Meyer Rubin

Document Type: Professional Paper 450-D
Publisher: United States Geological Survey
Published Year: 1962
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A study of surficial deposits in Mount Rainier National Park has led to the recognition of six distinctive layers of relatively light-colored pyroclastic debris on the flanks of Mount Rainier volcano, and on neighboring slopes of the Cascade Range. On slopes and ridgetops the layers locally are included in deposits totaling less than 6 feet in thickness. In terrace deposits in the valleys, however, the layers may be separated by tens of feet of debris flows and alluvium.

Only two of these ash layers are known to have originated at Mount Rainier. Two other pyroclastic layers become progressively coarser and thicker toward Mount St. Helens, 50 miles to the south-southwest. These layers merge with the two sheets of pumice northeast of Mount St. Helens described by Carithers (1946, p. 16), who recognized that they were erupted by Mount St. Helens and were carried as far as Mount Rainier.

The six layers are light colored and are prominent and individually distinctive. Because they were initially deposited over wide areas and are still locally preserved, they are useful for subdividing, correlating, and dating Recent surficial deposits.

Study of the Recent pyroclastic deposits near Mount Rainier began during investigation of the Osceola Mudflow, and most of these six light-colored layers were described briefly in a section measured ~m the northeast side of the volcano (Crandell and Waldron, 1956) : In the present study, the stratigraphy and distribution of the ash layers on and near Mount Rainier were studied by Crandell and Miller, and the stratigraphy of the pumice at Mount St. Helens and the petrography of the pyroclastic layers were examined by Mullineaux. Radiocarbon ages of interbedded organic matter were determined by Rubin.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Crandell and others (1962) or (Crandell et al., 1962)

References Citation:
Crandell, D.R., D.R. Mullineaux, R.D. Miller, and M. Rubin, 1962, Pyroclastic deposits of recent age at Mount Rainier, Washington: Professional Paper 450-D, United States Geological Survey,