Glacier Peak

Photo of this volcano
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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 48.112°N
  • 121.113°W

  • 3213 m
    10539 ft

  • 321020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Glacier Peak.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Glacier Peak.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Glacier Peak.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1700 CE

3213 m / 10539 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

Glacier Peak, the most isolated of the Cascade volcanoes, rises to 3213 m above the rugged forested terrain of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the North Cascades. Glacier Peak is a dacitic-andesitic stratovolcano with summit and flank lava domes; it resembles Mount St. Helens in its explosive vigor. More than a dozen glaciers descend its flanks, prompting its name. Although its summit towers 3000 m above surrounding valleys, the volcano was constructed above a high ridge and is itself less than 1000 m high. Repeated major explosive eruptions associated with lava dome growth during the late Pleistocene and Holocene deposited tephra over wide distances to the east. Voluminous pyroclastic flows and mudflows extended into the Puget Sound lowlands to the west and diverted several river courses into adjacent valleys. The latest eruption only a few hundred years ago was noted by indigenous Pacific Northwest Indians, and hot springs occur on its flanks.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Beget J E, 1982. Recent volcanic activity at Glacier Peak. Science, 215: 1389-1390.

Beget J E, 1983. Glacier Peak, Washington: a potentially hazardous Cascade volcano. Environ Geol, 5: 83-92.

Gardner J E, Carey S, Sigurdsson H, 1998. Plinian eruptions at Glacier Peak and Newberry volcanoes, United States: implications for volcanic hazards in the Cascade Range. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 110: 173-187.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Kuehn S C, Froese D G, Carrara P E, Foit Jr F F, Pearce N J G, Rotheisler P, 2009. Major- and trace-element characterization, expanded distributions, and a new chronology for the latest Pleistocene Glacier Peak tephras in western North America. Quat Res, 71: 201-216.

Mehringer P J, Blinmae E, Petersen K L, 1977. Pollen influx and volcanic ash. Science, 198: 257-261.

Sherrod D R, Smith J G, 1990. Quaternary extrusion rates of the Cascade Range, northwestern United States and southern British Columbia. J Geophys Res, 95: 19,465-19,474.

Tabor R W, Crowder D F, 1969. On batholiths and volcanoes: intrusion and eruption of late Cenozoic magmas in the Glacier Peak area, North Cascades, Washington. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 604: 1-67.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1700 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Tephrochronology
[ 1300 ± 300 years ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
0900 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0200 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
3150 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
3550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
[ 9675 BCE ± 375 years ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Dishpan Gap Pyroclastic cone 47° 59' 0" N 121° 9' 0" W
Indian Pass Pyroclastic cone 1800 m 48° 0' 0" N 121° 7' 0" W
White Chuck Pyroclastic cone 1830 m 48° 3' 0" N 121° 10' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Disappointment Peak Dome 2973 m 48° 6' 18" N 121° 6' 40" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Gamma Hot Springs Hot Spring
Kennedy Hot Springs Hot Spring 1000 m 48° 7' 0" N 121° 12' 0" W
Sulphur Hot Springs Hot Spring

Photo Gallery

The least known of Washington's large stratovolcanoes, Glacier Peak resembles Mount St. Helens in its production of large explosive eruptions that have spread major tephra deposits over wide distances. Its eruptions were accompanied by lava dome growth and pyroclastic flows and lahars that traveled into lowland areas far from the volcano. Frequently active during the past 5500 years, Glacier Peak, seen here from the SW, last erupted only a few centuries ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1990 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier Peak volcano, seen here at the upper right from Forbidden Peak, with Dome Peak at the upper left, rises above some of the most rugged terrain of the North Cascade mountain range. The least known of Washington's large stratovolcanoes, Glacier Peak's profile is less prominent from the Puget Sound area than its neighbors Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1971 (Smithsonian Institution).
The isolated Glacier Peak volcano, seen here from the summit of Mt. Pugh on the west, is the centerpiece of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. Glacier Peak has produced voluminous eruptions that deposited thick units of pyroclastic-flow and lahar deposits that blocked drainages, diverting the courses of the Suiattle and Swauk rivers northward into the Skagit River valley.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1972 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier Peak, the most isolated of the Cascade volcanoes, rises to 3213 m above the forested slopes of the Suiattle River valley in this east side view from Buck Creek Pass. Glacier Peak volcano resembles Mount St. Helens in its production of frequent powerful explosive eruptions that deposited ash and pumice over wide areas and produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that traveled long distances from the volcano. Its latest eruption occurred only a few hundred years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1985 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier Peak, seen here from Buck Creek Pass on the west, rises 3000 m above surrounding valleys, but the volcano is constructed on a high ridge and the volcano itself is only about 500-1000 m high. The eroded scarps at the base of the volcano at the head of the Suiattle River are cut in thick pyroclastic-flow and lahar deposits from recent eruptions of Glacier Peak.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1985 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Glacier Peak in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Glacier Peak Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.