Volcanoes and History
Cascade Range Volcanoes - "Volcanoes and History"

Frederick G. Plummer

IN: Holden, E.S., 1898, A catalogue of earthquakes on the Pacific coast, 1769-1897: Smithsonian Institution, City of Washington.

Excerpt from:
"Reported volcanic eruptions in Alaska, Puget Sound, etc., 1690 to 1896", by Frederick G. Plummer, March 13, 1896, IN: Holden, E.S., 1898, A catalogue of earthquakes on the Pacific coast, 1769-1897: Smithsonian Institution, City of Washington, p.24-27.

Reported Volcanic Eruptions on the Pacific Coast

The list of shocks printed in 1887, and those compiled during the succeeding years, contained many reported "eruptions" of mountains in the Puget Sound region. For a number of years I [the author, Mr. Holden] made it my business to apply by letter to intelligent observers in that neighborhood to determine whether Mount Baker and other mountains had ever certainly been known to be in eruption. Clouds hanging over the summit, snow blown from the slopes, etc., might, in my own opinion, account for all the reported phenomena. Still it was not possible to be certain either way, and I have left the accounts of such eruptions as they were first printed.

In 1896 Mr. Frederick G. Plummer, C.E., was kind enough to copy from his papers a list of the eruptions of Alaska volcanoes (1690 to date) and of the reported eruptions of the mountains around Puget Sound. This list was printed in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and is reprinted here. I have not incorporated this data in the catalogue of earthquakes which follows; it is more convenient in its present shape. Particular attention is called to the introductory paragraphs of Mr. Plummer's valuable list. Reports in the newspaper press on this subject are never decisive. To establish the fact of an eruption of one of the Puget Sound volcanoes it is necessary to have the report of an expert who was on the spot.

Reported Volcanic Eruptions in Alaska, Puget Sound, etc., 1690 to 1896.
by Frederick G. Plummer.
Tacoma, Washington, March 13, 1896.

"There can be no doubt that many eruptions are reported which might be contradicted if examination were possible. For example, the reports of the eruption and change in the summit of Mount Tacoma from November 21 to December 25, 1894, filled many columns of the press dispatches, and possibly were intended for that purpose. December 25th was the most perfect day for observation, and, with my 6 1/2-inch refractor, the crater-peak and its surroundings were carefully examined, and no change could be seen. No eruption was noted, other than the usual emission of steam, which varies with the barometer. However, reports came in later from a press party which claimed to have reached the slope of the mountain and witnessed an eruption of smoke. The party was about five miles from the summit, and my telescope, with lower power, brought the summit within half a mile. Although this was the clearest and most definite report of eruption, yet it is so flatly contradicted by the continuous telescopic observations and the later examinations of climbers, that it is omitted from the table."

[NOTE: Alaska volcanoes have been omitted]

Date of Beginning Name of Volcano Duration of Eruption Phenomena
Year Day
1831 --- St. Helens 12 hours ---
1831 --- Hood --- ---
1832 --- St. Helens --- ---
1841 --- Tacoma [Rainier] --- ---
1841 --- St. Helens --- ---
1842 --- St. Helens 2 months Smoke and light ashes
1842 --- Baker --- ---
1843 November 13 St. Helens 10 days Flames and light ashes
1843 November 13 Tacoma --- ---
1843 December ? St. Helens 85 days ---
1846 --- Hood --- ---
1846 --- St. Helens --- ---
1846 --- Baker --- ---
1847 --- Baker --- ---
1852 --- St. Helens --- ---
1853 January Baker --- Slight lava flow
1854 February St. Helens 70 days ---
1854 August Hood --- ---
1854 Summer Baker --- Smoke and ashes
1859 August 15 Hood 2 days ---
1859 --- Baker --- ---
1860 --- Baker --- ---
1861 --- Olympus --- ---
1865 September 23 Hood 15 days ---
1869 --- Hood 3 hours ---
1873 October 19, 4p.m. Tacoma 7 days ---
1880 May Tacoma --- ---
1880 December Baker --- ---
1884 June 16 Tacoma 9 hours Steam
1891 Autumn Baker --- ---
1891 --- Hozomeen --- Flame and smoke
1898 March 9 Olympus --- ---
1894 January 17 Jefferson --- Smoke and steam


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