Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mt. Rainier

“The Mountain”

Whoo-hoooo,
We received a feature spot over at
Jason D. Moore’s Photography Blog &
a Photoshop & Photography Blogroll listing.
Thanks Jason.

In Honor of this Event,
I present for your interest and viewing pleasure,
a Presentation Style Photograph of
Mt. Rainier, Washington State

(Click on the photo for best viewing)


The Technical Stuff
Nikon D200, f/14, 1/800 sec, 24mm focal length, ISO 400
Middle shot of 3 raw (.nef) files

Now for the History and Geology……..

Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano) in Pierce County, Washington, located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle, Washington, in the United States. It is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and Cascade Volcanic Arc at 14,411 feet (4,392 m). The mountain and the surrounding area are protected within Mount Rainier National Park. With 26 major glaciers, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states with 35 square miles (91 km²) of permanent snowfields and glaciers. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each over 1,000 feet (300 m) in diameter with the larger east crater overlapping the west crater. Geothermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both crater rims free of snow and ice, and has formed an extensive network of glacier caves within the ice-filled craters. A small crater lake, the highest in North America, occupies the lowest portion of the west crater below more than 160 feet (50 m) of ice and is accessible only via the caves.

Mount Rainier was originally known as Talol, or Tahoma, from the Lushootseed word "mother of waters" spoken by the Puyallup. It has a topographic prominence of 13,210 feet (4,026 m), greater than that of K2. It is a prominent feature of the southern landscape in most of the Seattle metropolitan area. On clear days, it can also be seen from as far away as Portland, Oregon, and Victoria, British Columbia. Because of its scenic dominance, Seattle-Tacoma-area residents sometimes refer to it simply as "the Mountain."

The Carbon, Puyallup, Mowich, Nisqually, and Cowlitz Rivers begin at glaciers of Mount Rainier. The sources of the White River are Winthrop, Emmons, and Fryingpan Glaciers. The White, Carbon, and Mowich join the Puyallup River, which discharges into Commencement Bay at Tacoma; the Nisqually empties into Puget Sound east of Lacey; and the Cowlitz joins the Columbia River between Kelso and Longview.

Mount Rainier's earliest lavas are over 840,000 years old and are part of the Lily Formation (2.9 million to 840,000 years ago). The early lavas formed a "proto-Rainier" or an ancestral cone prior to the present-day cone. The present cone is over 500,000 years old. The volcano is highly eroded, with glaciers on its slopes, and appears to be made mostly of andesite. Rainier likely once stood even higher than today at about 16,000 feet (4,900 m) before a major debris avalanche and the resulting Osceola Mudflow 5,000 years ago.

In the past, Rainier has had large debris avalanches, and has also produced enormous lahars (volcanic mudflows) due to the large amount of glacial ice present. Its lahars have reached all the way to the Puget Sound. Around 5,000 years ago, a large chunk of the volcano slid away and that debris avalanche helped to produce the massive Osceola Mudflow, which went all the way to the site of present-day Tacoma and south Seattle. This massive avalanche of rock and ice took out the top 1,600 feet (500 m) of Rainier, bringing its height down to around 14,100 feet (4,300 m). About 530 to 550 years ago, the Electron Mudflow occurred, although this was not as large-scale as the Osceola Mudflow.

After the major collapse 5,000 years ago, subsequent eruptions of lava and tephra built up the modern summit cone until about as recently as 1,000 years ago. As many as 11 Holocene tephra layers have been found.

The most recent recorded volcanic eruption was between 1820 and 1854, but many eyewitnesses reported eruptive activity in 1858, 1870, 1879, 1882 and 1894 as well. As of 2008, there is no imminent risk of eruption, but geologists expect that the volcano will erupt again.

Lahars from Rainier pose the most risk to life and property, as many communities lie atop older lahar deposits. Not only is there much ice atop the volcano, the volcano is also slowly being weakened by hydrothermal activity. According to Geoff Clayton, a geologist with RH2, a repeat of the Osceola mudflow would destroy Enumclaw, Kent, Auburn, and most or all of Renton. Such a mudflow might also reach down the Duwamish estuary and destroy parts of downtown Seattle, and cause tsunamis in Puget Sound and Lake Washington. According to USGS, about 150,000 people live on top of old lahar deposits of Rainier. Rainier is also capable of producing pyroclastic flows as well as lava.

At the time of European contact, the river valleys and other areas near the mountain were inhabited by many Pacific Northwest tribes who hunted and gathered berries in the forests and mountain meadows. These included the Nisqually, Cowlitz, Yakama, Puyallup, and Muckleshoot.

Captain George Vancouver reached Puget Sound in 1792 and became the first European to see the mountain. He named it in honor of his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.

In 1833, Dr. William Fraser Tolmie explored the area looking for medicinal plants. He was followed by other explorers seeking challenge. Hazard Stevens and P. B. Van Trump received a hero's welcome in the streets of Olympia after their successful summit climb in 1870. John Muir climbed Mount Rainier in 1888, and although he enjoyed the view, he conceded that it was best appreciated from below. Muir was one of many who advocated protecting the mountain. In 1893, the area was set aside as part of the Pacific Forest Reserve in order to protect its physical/economic resources: timber and watersheds.

Citing the need to also protect scenery and provide for public enjoyment, railroads and local businesses urged the creation of a national park in hopes of increased tourism. On March 2, 1899, President William McKinley established Mount Rainier National Park as America's fifth national park. Congress dedicated the new park "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people; and...for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said park, and their retention in their natural condition." Wiki

The Washington state quarter, which was released on April 11, 2007, features Mount Rainier and a salmon.

I hope you have enjoyed the Presentation Style Photograph and history of Mt. Rainier.
Have you seen it, have you climbed the peaks, have you hiked the trails?
Can you feel the cool refreshing air?
Leave a comment at your pleasure, and
Give a visit to Jason D. Moore Photography

Troy and Martha
Texas Travelers in
Washington State

16 comments:

fishing guy said...

Troy: Great photo and a nice post of information. I was there 25 years ago and the memories of the mountain are still in my mind. There was snow at the the bottom of the mountain in July. It's too bad I didn't have today's camera back then.

Dewdrop said...

Troy, that is a fantastic shot. Looks like a post card. Very interesting information about Mt. Rainier. I have been susprised to learn how many volcanoes there are around... I heard most recently that Yellowstone National Park is one giant volcano opening, an eruption from a volcano its size would cause catastrophic damage, larger than any known to date.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Yes, I can feel the cool, refreshing air. In my imagination, anyhow.

Mt. Ranier is so-o-o beautiful. Good news that, although it's an active volcano, it's not about to overflow with lava anythime soon.

I've seen this montain from the distance but, alas, never climbed it.

Daryl said...

What a perfect photo for a hot day ... I think I will sit and look at it for a while .. at least til I get chilly!

Congrats ... its well deserved!

:-Daryl

The Texican said...

Just like watching National Geographic channel. Thanks Troy and Martha.

Cicero Sings said...

Congrats on getting your photo featured. Great shot of Rainier!!!
... nice history lesson too.

the teach said...

Troy, congratulations on being picked for a feature on the Jason D. Moore Photography blog. Your presentation photo of Mt. Ranier is just beautiful! You asked what version of Photoshop I used. I think it's 7. I use photoshop mostly to downsize photos for posting on my blog. But I do use Auto Levels, Hue/Saturation, Brightness on occasion. I've never been to Mt. Ranier - it's a place I'd like to go someday. :D

dguzman said...

Wow wow wow.

Duncan said...

That is a top photograph Troy.

Granny Smith said...

What a beautiful presentation altogether! Essence of mountain. I've only hiked halfway up one of the trails on Mt. Rainier, and that was many years ago - so long ago that I had a toddler in my arms and another clinging to my slacks. Which is the reason I only went half way.

I appreciate the wealth of information that you shared, including the photo information too.

Kathiesbirds said...

Troy, what a gorgeous photo and interesting history. I saw Mt. Ranier from a plane when we flew into SeaTac to visit my son who is stationed at Ft. Lewis. While there we visited Nisqually Wildlife Refuge where I greatly added to my birding life list. I loved Nisqually but I couldn't take the rain or constant fog, gray, rain, or drizzle! We only saw the sun peek out once the whole 4 or 5 days that we were there! Thanks for the education and congrats on your spot on the photo blog. I will check it out.

Katney said...

No I have not climbed it. Yes I have hiked the trails--most recently on Friday last, though only a brief hike that time. Our next trip will be Monday or Tuesday, as my birthday present will be a senior pass. Two weeks after a phtography workshop for employees and volunteers, and then volunteer training, followed directly by our annual camping with the grandkids trip.

My only question--where was this taken from? The mountain has so many moods, ao many moods. And different angles. This was definitely from somewhere on the west side.

Sorry, I get carried away with my mountain, shich you can see again on my ABC-Wednesday post and others.

Scotty Graham said...

Troy....it was such a pleasure to see our profiles side-by-side in Jason's Website....I also learned some things about you...amazing this internet world, heh?? I feel like I know you.

Cheers, and keep up the excellent work!!

Scotty

Deslilas said...

U like U-kipedia !
Nice and instructive blog indeed.

Jennifer Rinaldi said...

That shot of Mt. Rainier is amazing! Well done!

ed said...

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