Blue Lake Crater

Photo of this volcano
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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 44.411°N
  • 121.774°W

  • 1230 m
    4034 ft

  • 322030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Blue Lake Crater.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Blue Lake Crater.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Blue Lake Crater.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



680 CE

1230 m / 4034 ft


Volcano Types

Fissure vent

Rock Types

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

Blue Lake crater, one of the least known Holocene volcanoes of the Oregon Cascades, is a series of at least three overlapping explosion craters along a NE trend slightly east of the crest of the Cascade Range. Explosions through pre-existing bedrock about 1300 years ago deposited basaltic bombs and cinders and spread a tephra blanket to the east and SE during perhaps the youngest eruption in the Santiam and McKenzie Passes region. The eruption created an elongated, steep-walled crater with a low rim that rises about 50 m above adjacent topography. The crater is now filled by the 0.3 x 0.8 km wide Blue Lake, immediately west of the popular recreation area of glacial moraine dammed Suttle Lake. A chain of spatter cones 6 km to the SSW and about 4 km NE of Mount Washington, is aligned with Blue Lake crater and has ejecta that are petrographically similar to that from Blue Lake and may have been erupted at the same time.


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

Sherrod D R, Taylor E M, Ferns M L, Scott W E, Conrey R M, Smith G A, 2004. Geologic map of the Bend 30- x 60-minute quadrangle, central Oregon. U S Geol Surv Map , I-2683, 1:100,000 scale and 48 p text.

Taylor E M, 1965. Recent volcanism between Three Fingered Jack and North Sister Oregon Cascade Range. Ore Bin, 27: 121-148.

Taylor E M, 1981. Roadlog for central High Cascade geology, Bend, Sisters, McKenzie Pass, and Santiam Pass, Oregon. U S Geol Surv Circ, 838: 59-83.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0680 ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Blue Lake Crater.

Photo Gallery

Blue Lake Crater, 0.3 x 0.8 km wide, was formed about 1300 years ago by volcanic explosions through pre-existing volcanic bedrock. A least three overlapping craters were formed, with ejecta forming a crater rim only 50 meters above the pre-eruption surface.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1995 (Smithsonian Institution).
Blue Lake Crater in the foreground is one of three overlapping explosion craters located east of Santiam Pass. The craters formed about 1300 years ago by explosions through older volcanic bedrock, and a chain of spatter cones about 6 km SSW of Blue Lake may have been active during the same eruption. Despite its proximity to a major cross-Cascades highway, Blue Lake Crater is one of the least-known Holocene volcanoes of the Cascades. The snow-capped pinnacle of Pleistocene Mount Washington is visible in the background.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Blue Lake Crater 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.