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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

A visitors guide to Mount Rainier glaciers

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Author(s): Carolyn L. Driedger

Category: BOOK
Document Type:
Publisher: Pacific Northwest National Parks and Forests Association, Seattle, WA
Published Year: 1986
Pages: 80
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier: 978-0914019114

If ever nature provided us with a stage of many sets, it is at Mount Rainier. Here the actors are volcanic eruptions, snowstorms, glaciers; the warm sun, running water, and mudflows. The stage scenes are perpetually being reset by these geologic exchanges; and over thousands of years, the characters are recast. Sometimes the mountain triumphs briefly with renewed eruptions, and always its structure is being eroded by the destructive powers of water and ice (fig 1). Mount Rainier distinguishes itself from other Cascade volcanoes because of its immense size and its extensive snow and ice cover About 35 square miles of perennial snow and ice cover the mountain at summer's end—equivalent to all of the other Cascade volcanoes combined, and an amount sufficient to fill Seattle's Safeco Stadium 2,600 times.

To be considered a GLACIER, a body of ice must show evidence of movement commonly reported by the presence of CREVASSES and ice flowlines. There are 26 major glaciers on Mount Rainier and numerous unnamed snow or ice patches- Emmons Glacier has the largest area (4.3 square miles) and Carbon Glacier has the lowest terminus altitude (3,600 feet) of all glaciers in the contiguous United States. Nisqually Glacier has heralded climatic changes as observed by its dramatic changes in dimension within the twentieth century. The now decrepit ice caves made Paradise Glacier famous among the adventurous. Mount Rainier's glaciers are important as indicators of climatic change, as objects of beauty, and as sources of water for hydroelectric power and recreation; Because glaciers store snow and ice during cold seasons and release it as water during hot, dry weather, they are natural and effective regulators of their water supply.

Section One of this book describes glacial processes and past glaciation within the park. Section Two specifies some places where you can observe these processes and some of their geologic effects; This book is meant as a guide to you, the observer. Use it; and add your observations to it. Take pictures. Compare glacier behavior of different years. Let the list of references guide you to more in-depth publications and those that describe related geology.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Driedger (1986) or (Driedger, 1986)

References Citation:
Driedger, C.L., 1986, A visitors guide to Mount Rainier glaciers: Pacific Northwest National Parks and Forests Association, Seattle, WA, 80 p..