Scott F. Burns

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 178 p.)


Mount Adams (Wash.), Debris avalanches -- Washington (State) -- Mount Adams




Debris flows caused by heavy rains occurred in November of 2006 on several Cascade volcanoes. Mt. Adams experienced debris flows in seven of eighteen drainages including Adams Creek, Big Muddy Creek, Lewis Creek, Little Muddy Creek, Muddy Fork, Rusk Creek and Salt Creek. Six debris flows occurred on the northeast side of the mountain. A landslide initiated one debris flow, three were initiated by heavy water flow and in channel landslides, and three were initiated by a coalescence of eroded channels (headless debris flows). Four pre-2006 debris flows were found in the Cascade Creek, Crofton Creek, Hellroaring Creek and Morrison Creek drainages. Every 2006 debris flow initiated in Quaternary glacial drift. Attributes of the drainages were investigated to determine differences between drainages with debris flows and those without. The upper basins of drainages with debris flows averaged 37% glacial coverage, 29% bedrock and 35% unconsolidated material. The upper basins of drainages without debris flows without averaged 12% glacial coverage, 63% bedrock, and 25% unconsolidated material. All of the drainages with debris flows were directly connected to a glacier, opposed to only 36% of the drainages without debris flows. Drainages with debris flows averaged 18% slopes above 33°, 10% vegetation, a gradient of 0.38, a Melton's Ruggedness Number of 0.62, an average annual rainfall of 2.16 m, and -52% glacier lost between 1904-2006. The upper basins of drainages without debris flows averaged 11% slopes above 33°, 18% vegetation, a gradient of 0.31, a MRN of 0.58, an average annual rainfall of 2.38 m, and -41% glacier lost between 1904-2006. A multiple logistic regression was performed to determine factors with highest influence on predicting the probability of a debris flow. Influencing factors were percent glacial coverage and average annual rainfall. They predicted the 2006 debris flows with an 89% accuracy rate. This model was used to produce a debris flow hazard map. Due to the number of Cascade volcanoes that experienced debris flows as a result of the November 2006 storm, data of this type could be combined from multiple mountains to construct a general Cascade Mountain debris flow hazard model.

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