Mt Drum photo, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Mt Drum and Mt Sanford Rise over the Copper River Basin and Willow Lake,, Wrangell St. Elias national park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

OK, here’s another trivia; these 2 mountains, Mt Drum on the left and Mt Sanford on the right, are volcanic mountains. Mt Sanford is a shield volcano. Shield volcanos are the result of low viscosity lava flows (free flowing) that build up over time – the lava flows and flows, hardens, flows, etc, and the mountains gradually grow. They tend to have a lower profile with shallow, kind of sloping sides .. they become broader mountains, typically, and are sometimes mistaken to be entire mountain ranges.

Shield Volcanoes are basalt rock; Mount Sanford is mainly composed of Andesite, an igneous rock formed along plate margins .. and the Wrangells are on the junction of 2 major plates along the Pacific rim. The name Andesite comes from the Andes mountain Range in South America, which are also largely a function of tectonic plate movements. The faces of Mt. Sanford and Mount Drum have been largely eroded away by glacial action, so they tend to no longer have the broad rounded structure of most shield volcanoes. On the southern face, Mt Sanford rises over 8000′ in one mile, which I believe is one of the steepest mountain faces in North America. A plane crashed into Sanford in the late 19040’s, and the wreckage wasn’t found until 1999, because it was covered by snow so soon after the crash. Global warming probably uncovered it.

This shot was taken from down at Willow Lake .. frozen over and covered with wind blown snow, I clambered around trying to find a nice foreground pattern for this shot. I tripped the shutter, threw my tripod and camera rig over my shoulder, and stumbled blindly back to my van, climbed inside, started it up, and ran the heater full-bore until the blood returned to my pinky fingers. I finally stopped crying around 10am the following morning.

Oh, the trivia question is this: which one of these 2 mountain is taller? No cheating.



7 thoughts on “Mt Drum photo, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska

  1. Beth Lunsford

    Is it Mt. Drum? I’m no geologist , but from what you’ve explained it sounds like it’s Mt. Drum. That’s my educated opinion, which may not be worth scat!! I love the trivia , though. Glad you’re back , Carl.We were beginning to wonder if you were another Bear Grylls!! Hey Ron, did you really live out there?? More trivia! We may learn something! Stay safe.

  2. Carl Donohue

    Hey Beth

    Mount Drum is a stratovolcano – volcanoes formed more by the typical eruption of lava blasting out of the ground into the air. But Mt Sanford is WAY higher . it’s over 16 000′ tall, and Mt Drum is a good bit shorter, at 12 000′. 12 010′ to be exact. Mount Sanford is 16 237′ high. What’s REALLY wild is that people have ridden snow machines to the top of these mountains .. and Mount Wrangell, which is 14 163′ high. I can’t imagine riding a snow machine up anything that steep – of course, I don’t have a snow machine either, so that would definitely make it imaginary for me.

    Mt Sanford looks much shorter from this angle because it’s so much further away than Mount Drum is.



  3. Chris Kayler

    Hey Carl,

    Nice image. Thanks for the trivia, too. It’s all very fitting since I’m taking Geology classes now :). Stop by my blog sometime and say hi … take care, and try not to lose any fingers.


  4. Carl Donohue

    hey Chris

    Geology stuff is so cool to learn about .. I wish I knew it better.

    I’ll try to drop back by your blog and say something, but once I hit the dirt road tomorrow mmorning, I won’t have much internet time at all .. just emails, send some images off, update my blog, and back to my cabin. I won’t even have time to visit Ron’s blog, and he’s already warned me I’m a deadman if I don’t make at least 2 posts a week on his site. 🙂



  5. Ron Niebrugge

    Two posts a week – hey you called, that is good for a month! 🙂 Great talking to you bud, have a safe trip!

    Beth, I did grow up in the area – I used to look at those mountain on my drive back and forth to school – it was pretty sweet!


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