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A recent volcanic mudflow of exceptional dimensions from Mt. Rainier, Washington

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Author(s): Dwight R. Crandell, H H. Waldron

Document Type:
Publisher: American Journal of Science
Published Year: 1956
Volume: 254
Pages: 349 to 362
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

A recent mudflow extends from the northeast side of Mt. Rainier 45 miles down the White River valley to the west front of the Cascade Range and spreads out on the Puget Sound lowland east of Tacoma as a lobe 20 miles long and 3 to 10 miles wide. The mudflow originally was named Osceola till and described as the deposit of a piedmont glacier originating in the Cascade Range during the Vashon glaciation.

The mudflow deposit ranges in thickness from a few feet to 350 feet and typically is unsorted and unstratified. It is characterized by a purplish-gray color, by abundant andesite lava fragments from Mt. Rainier, and by wood fragments ranging from logs 10 feet long to very find fibrous particles. In the lowland the mudflow lobe is bisected by the trench of the White River; margins of the flow are digitate, with narrow lobes extending as much as 4 miles beyond the main body. The upper surface, although appearing flat over broad areas, has a northwesterly slope of 25 to 30 feet per mile.

In the lowland the mudflow overlies a brown podzolic soil profile developed on Vashon glacial drift; on Mt. Rainier the mudflow is postdated by at least three eruptions of pyroclastic material and by at least two advances of Emmons Glacier. Carbon 14 dating of two wood samples provides an approximate age of 4800 years for the mudflow.

The mudflow is thought to have originated as a result of lateral ejections of clayey material from the northeast side of Mt. Rainier. The name Osceola mudflow is here applied to the deposits included in the Osceola till of former usage.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Crandell and Waldron (1956) or (Crandell and Waldron, 1956)

References Citation:
Crandell, D.R. and H.H. Waldron, 1956, A recent volcanic mudflow of exceptional dimensions from Mt. Rainier, Washington: American Journal of Science, Vol. 254, pp. 349-362.