Abstract

A debris-avalanche deposit extends 43 km northwestward from the base of Mount Shasta across the floor of Shasta Valley, California, where it covers an area of at least 450 km2. The surface of the deposit is dotted with hundreds of mounds, hills, and ridges, all formed of blocks of pyroxene andesite and unconsolidated volcaniclastic deposits derived from an ancestral Mount Shasta. Individual hills are separated by flat-topped laharlike deposits that also form the matrix of the debris avalanche and slope northwestward about 5 m/km. Radiometric ages of rocks in the deposit and of a postavalanche basalt flow indicate that the avalanche occurred between about 300,000 and 360,000 yr ago. An inferred average thickness of the deposit, plus a computed volume of about 4 km3 for the hills and ridges, indicate an estimated volume of about 26 km3, making it the largest known Quaternary landslide on Earth.

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