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Donald A. Swanson

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Mount St. Helens, located in southwestern Washington about 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, is one of several lofty volcanic peaks that dominate the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest; the range extends from Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia, Canada, to Lassen Peak in northern California. Geologists call Mount St. Helens a composite volcano (or stratovolcano), a term for steepsided, often symmetrical cones constructed of alternating layers of lava flows, ash, and other volcanic debris. Composite volcanoes tend to erupt explosively and pose considerable danger to nearby life and property. In contrast, the gently sloping shield volcanoes, such as those in Hawaii, typically erupt nonexplosively, producing...
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The formation, evolution, collapse, and subsequent resurrection of a vent within Halema'uma'u Crater, Kilauea Volcano, produced energetic and varied degassing signals recorded by a nearby infrasound array between 2008 and early 2009. After 25 years of quiescence, a vent-clearing explosive burst on 19 March 2008 produced a clear, complex acoustic signal. Near-continuous harmonic infrasonic tremor followed this burst until 4 December 2008, when a period of decreased degassing occurred. The tremor spectra suggest volume oscillation and reverberation of a shallow gas-filled cavity beneath the vent. The dominant tremor peak can be sustained through Helmholtz oscillations of the cavity, while the secondary tremor peak...
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The Keanakākoʻi Tephra at Kīlauea Volcano has previously been interpreted by some as the product of a caldera-forming eruption in 1790 CE. Our study, however, finds stratigraphic and 14C evidence that the tephra instead results from numerous eruptions throughout a 300-year period between about 1500 and 1800. The stratigraphic evidence includes: (1) as many as six pure lithic ash beds interleaved in sand dunes made of earlier Keanakākoʻi vitric ash, (2) three lava flows from Kīlauea and Mauna Loa interbedded with the tephra, (3) buried syneruptive cultural structures, (4) numerous intraformational water-cut gullies, and (5) abundant organic layers rich in charcoal within the tephra section. Interpretation of 97 new...
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Up to 1700 feet of the upper Miocene-lower Pliocene Yakima Basalt of the Columbia River Group underlie much of the eastern flank of the Cascade Range in the Tieton River area, Yakima County, Washington. Local prebasalt relief was more than 1700 feet, so thicknesses of each of the 15 exposed flows vary widely. Single flows can be traced for many miles, and terminate only against local topographic highs. The flows show typical colonnade-entablature jointing, and commonly overlie thin pillow-palagonite complexes. The basalts have Yakima-type chemistry. Plagioclase varies chiefly from An65(microphenocrysts) to An45 (microlites). Clinopyroxenes range from Ca-rich pigeonite to augite, with subcalcic augite most abundant....
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