It was a gray and cloudy mrning as we approached Bellingham on the last day of our ferry trip from Alaska. The top of volcanic Mt. Baker could be seen rising above the cloud deck.
This picture is from a photo I took of the scene.
Click on image for full-size view.
Known as Koma Kulshan (white sentinel) by one Native American tribe, Mt. Baker dominates the skyline from Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. At 10,781 ft, it is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. It is visible from much of Greater Victoria, Greater Vancouver, and, to the south, from Seattle (and on clear days Tacoma).
On cold, clear winter days, dramatic increases in the steam plume rising continuously from Sherman Crater can alarm local residents. This apparent increase in plume vigor occurs because of condensation of steam in cold, calm air.
The mountain, an isoloated stratovolcano, is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade Range volcanoes after Mount Rainier. Mount Baker Ski Area set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season—1,140 in.
Mt. Baker has the second-most thermally active crater in the Cascade Range after Mount Saint Helens. While volcanism has persisted here for some 1.5 million years, the current glaciated cone is likely no more than140,000 years old, and possibly no older than 80-90,000 years. Older volcanic edifices have mostly eroded away due to glaciation.
Mt. Baker has been very active over the last 10,000 years and has erupted 13 times in recorded history. Its last eruption was in 1880. A release of steam occurred at in 1975-6, but no eruption followed this event.
The first written record of the mountain is from the Spanish. Spanish explorer Gonzalo Lopez de Haro mapped it in 1790 as the Gran Montaña del Carmelo, (Great Mount Carmel). The explorer George Vancouver renamed the mountain for 3rd Lieutenant Joseph Baker of HMS Discovery, who saw it on April 30, 1792.