Late Eighteenth Century Old Maid Eruption and Lahars at Mount Hood, Oregon (USA) Dated with Tree Rings and Historical Observations

  • Patrick T. Pringle
  • Thomas C. Pierson
  • Kenneth A. Cameron
  • Paul R. Sheppard
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 41)


Tree rings of subfossil trees buried by lahars and lahar-derived sediments along the Sandy and Zigzag Rivers record the onset of a late eighteenth century eruption at Mount Hood, Oregon, USA (Figs. 1–2). Crandell (1980) described and named this eruptive activity the ‘Old Maid eruptive period’ and estimated its age at about “200–300 year” using radiocarbon ages of trees killed by lahars. Cameron and Pringle (1986, 1987, 1991) used dendrochronology to constrain the major eruptive events to several decades in the late 1700s. Precise dating of the Old Maid eruption using tree rings, however, has been complicated by the inconsistent wood quality and scarcity of victim subfossil trees. A lack of nearby master chronologies, diverse physiography and microclimates of the region, and the generally low sensitreivity of local tree-ring series to climate variation also create problems with interpretation.


Tree Ring Eruptive Activity Lava Dome Annual Growth Ring Tephra Fallout 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



In 1997, Blythe Underwood Creek, an amateur geologist, found additional buried trees, including a key bark-bearing western redcedar snag, and assisted us in sampling these.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick T. Pringle
    • 1
  • Thomas C. Pierson
    • 2
  • Kenneth A. Cameron
    • 3
  • Paul R. Sheppard
    • 4
  1. 1.Science DepartmentCentralia CollegeCentraliaUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geologic SurveyCascades Volcano ObservatoryVancouverUSA
  3. 3.MilwaukieUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Tree-Ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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