was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

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Chip Down
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was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by Chip Down » June 11th, 2019, 7:53 pm

If you have an old map of St Helens, or if you're old as dirt, maybe you can answer this.
The bowl defined by Crescent Ridge harbors snow later than the elevation (roughly 6200 to 6900) would lead you to expect. Pre 1980, was there a documented named glacier there? I like to think there was. It's such a distinctive feature on the mountain, it really deserves its own glacier.

Google searches are tricky, because there's a Crescent Glacier on Adams, which affords views of St Helens, so of course that's what shows up in searches.
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Crescent Bowl.jpg

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BigBear
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Re: was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by BigBear » June 12th, 2019, 8:36 am

I'm going with yes. My reasoning: just about everywhere you stand in this part of the country was covered by a glacier during the last ice age. As the glacier receded, they remained on the slopes of the mountains, continued to dwindle into snowfields and eventually evaporated. Prior to the 1980 eruption, the snow cone summit of St. Helens looked much like Mt. Baker with its numerous glaciers and crevasses. Without looking at a map, it would be most-certain that glaciers once covered the slopes of St. Helens, although I cannot guarantee that this particular location had a glacier on New Years Day 1980.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by Don Nelsen » June 12th, 2019, 10:43 am

Chip Down wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 7:53 pm
If you have an old map of St Helens, or if you're old as dirt, maybe you can answer this.
The bowl defined by Crescent Ridge harbors snow later than the elevation (roughly 6200 to 6900) would lead you to expect. Pre 1980, was there a documented named glacier there? I like to think there was. It's such a distinctive feature on the mountain, it really deserves its own glacier.

Google searches are tricky, because there's a Crescent Glacier on Adams, which affords views of St Helens, so of course that's what shows up in searches.
I qualify as being older than dirt so I must opine: I remember looking up at Mt. St. Helens in about 1957 from the scout camp on Spirit Lake and seeing the entire north face of the mountain covered in white. This was in August and looked impressive enough that I remember it over 60 years later. Looking at a map from 1958 you can see many glaciers on the north side that all were blasted away in the 1980 event:
Image

Here is a map covering the same area as above made in 1983:
Image
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by Chip Down » June 12th, 2019, 7:26 pm

Well, I feel silly:

1. Yes, of course there was a glacier there before 1980. What I was wondering, of course, was whether there was a glacier there immediately before 1980. I was careful in how I worded my question, but not careful enough!

2. I own a paper copy of Don's 1958 map! I should take a closer look at it sometime, check out where the roads and trails used to be.

Anyway, the 1958 map settles it: If there was a glacier there, it was a tiny one way down in the canyon, not up in the bowl. From that map, I gather the bowl must melt out 100% now, every summer. As much as that saddens me, I might want to go up there some September just to see what it looks like bare.
Don Nelsen wrote:
June 12th, 2019, 10:43 am
Looking at a map from 1958 you can see many glaciers on the north side that all were blasted away in the 1980 event:
One has to wonder what the glacier situation would look like if the mountain had breached south instead of north. Surely some northern glaciers would survive to this day, right? Would a crater glacier have formed? I'm guessing yes, but it would surely be much smaller, just an arc/horseshoe, instead of the lollipop we have now. Oh, remember when they were discussing names for the crater glacier? I think horseshoe was proposed, which would make no sense now. I might start calling it Lollipop Glacier. Wow, I am waaaay of topic here.

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oldandslow
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Re: was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by oldandslow » June 13th, 2019, 3:33 pm

In August 2012 I posted on Travels in Time two photos of Mt. St. Helens from about 1951 that might be helpful in your quest. The photo from Norway Pass has some detail if you click on it to enlarge.

Schrauf
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Re: was there ever a Crescent Glacier on St Helens?

Post by Schrauf » June 13th, 2019, 8:32 pm

Geologic map here (PDF link at bottom) - https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/of02-468/

Lot of hits when searching for Mt St Helens historical maps but they don't seem to have many names of glaciers on them.

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