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Ring Creek Lava Flow and Mount Garibaldi in Winter # 14605

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Date: 2010.12.31
Vantage Point: Taken over Skookum Creek looking north-northwest

Caption: Ring Creek Lava flow and Mount Garibaldi

PhotoDescr: The Ring Creek lava flow started at the Opal Cone in Garibaldi Park, just below Mount Garibaldi, and flowed for about 17 kilometres down the Mamquam River valley, coming uncomfortably close to the present town of Squamish (stopped only about 3 kilometres east). It must have come down after the ice age came to end; C14 age dating suggests about 9600 years before present.

Lava flows like this push material off to the side, and this forms big ridges (levees) that parallel the main flow. Also, since underlying lava still moves along as the surface material cools and solidifies, such lava flows typically have a series of ridges that run perpendicular to the flow; these are sometimes called wrinkle ridges and are clearly visible in this winter photo.

Another interesting fact: the Ring Creek lava flow spit the original drainage in the Mamquam Valley; it pushed the Mamquam River to the south side of the flow, and Ring Creek to the north. Since the deepest part of the pre-lava flow valley is buried underneath the lava, precipitation that falls on the flow percolates down through the lava to the old buried channel of the original Mamquam River- and comes out at the end of the lava flow in a series of big springs that have been developed by the District of Squamish into a high-quality drinking water source.

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