Abstract

The Mount Meager volcanic complex in southern British Columbia is snow and ice covered and has steep glaciated and unstable slopes of hydrothermally altered volcanic deposits. Three large-volume (>108 m3) volcanic debris flow deposits derived from the Mount Meager volcanic complex have been identified. The volcanic debris flows travelled at least 30 km downstream from the volcanic complex and inundated now populated areas of Pemberton Valley. Clay content and mineralogy of the deposits indicate that the volcanic debris flows were clay-rich (5%–7% clay in the matrix) and derived from hydrothermally altered volcanic material. The youngest volcanic debris flow deposit is interpreted to be associated with the last known volcanic eruption, ∼2360 calendar (cal) years BP. The other two debris flows may not have been directly associated with eruptions. Volcanic debris flow hazard inundation maps have been produced using the Geographic Information System (GIS)-based modelling program, LAHARZ. The maps provide estimates of the areas that would be inundated by future moderate to large-magnitude events. Given the available data, the probability of a volcanic debris flow reaching populated areas in Pemberton Valley is ∼1 in 2400 years. Additional mapping in the source regions is necessary to determine if sufficient material remains on the volcanic edifice to generate future large-magnitude, clay-rich volcanic debris flows.

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