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Mount McLoughlin

VistaPro image of Mount McLoughlin and Brown Mountain from the West
VistaPro image of Mount McLoughlin and Brown Mountain as seen from the west atop Bieberstedt Butte

The Name

When I first moved to Siskiyou County in 1981 I remember driving to Yreka from Weed and seeing a beautiful snow-covered peak. At the time, I thought Mount Shasta was the only snowy mountain around so I glanced to where I thought Mount Shasta should be, and sure enough, there it was. So what was this other mountain? I soon found out it was Mount McLoughlin in Oregon and I have admired it from afar since that time. I've also enjoyed time at Lake of the Woods located on the southeast side of Mount McLoughlin.

Many people I know have made the same mistake in confusing Mount Shasta and Mount McLoughlin. Indeed, as Bill Miesse chronicles throughout Mount Shasta: An Annotated Bibliography, confusion has long occurred. The first map that contained the name Mt. Shasty was published in 1834 and referred to Mount McLoughlin. The name Mounty Shasty continued to be used for Mount McLoughlin up until 1841. The first known map that assigns a name to present-day Mount Shasta was published in 1836 and it gives the name Mt. Simpson, which was possibly so-named by Jedediah Smith. An 1838 map assigns the name of Pit Mountain to Mount Shasta. Mount McLoughlin has also been called Mount Pitt, Mount Pit, Pitt Mountain, and Pit Mountain. When reading historical accounts of the region, keep in mind that both Mount McLoughlin and Mount Shasta have had the names Shasty, Pitt or Pit, and McLoughlin at different times during their history.

The name McLoughlin comes from John McLoughlin who worked for the Hudson Bay Company. He was a contemporary of Alexander R. McCleod, Jedediah Smith, and Peter Skene Ogden (who is said to have named Mount Shasta Mount Sastise in 1827).


NE portion of Medford-East DEM of OregonMount McLoughlin is in the Southern Cascades of Oregon. The Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to the left shows the relative location of Mt. McLoughlin to other peaks in the Southern Cascades. Mount McLoughlin is located about 30 miles south of Crater Lake and 70 miles north of Mount Shasta.

Mount McLoughlin is 9,495 feet (2894 meters) tall and is built on volcanic flows of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. Like many other volcanoes in the Cascade Range, it may appear symmetrical from one side when in actuality it is not so. A cinder cone formed on top of older lava flows and was then covered by andesitic lava. That the interior of Mount McLoughlin is a cinder cone was revealed when the northeast side of the mountain was glaciated during the Pleistocene. Minor lava flows occurred after glaciation. A receding glacier existed in recent decades.


Satellite Images

MSS Bands 4 (Sobel Edge), 4/2, 3 This satellite image used Band 4 filtered by a Sobel Edge Detector for the blue band. The Sobel Edge filter emphasizes boundaries and so it often will outline bodies of water because they are so different from the neighboring regions. I used a ratio image of Bands 4/2 for the green band because the 4/2 ratio emphasizes vegetation. I used band 3 for the red band because it also emphasizes vegetation. The bright red areas are probably irrigated. Out of this band combination came a darker red and maroon which correspond with lava flows. The maroon on Brown Mountain is from a relatively recent lava flow.
MSS Bands 2,3,4 Band 2 was used for the blue band, Band 3 for the green band, and Band 4 for the red band in this composite image. The lakes show up as dark blues. The olive color is a forested region on volcanic soil. The fields show up as gray. If you take a look at the close-up of this scene, you will see a distinct boundary between Aspen Butte and Aspen Lake. This is the Wilderness and National Forest boundary. The bright green strands in Upper Klamath Lake are algae, which is harvested for use as a health food. It's a good thing somebody is taking the algae out or the fish would have a hard time breathing! The lakes in this region are popular to surrounding residents.
MSS Bands 4,2,3 I liked the colors of this composite image. I used Band 4 with a Sobel Edge filter for the blue band, band 2 for the green band, and band 3 for the red band. Lakes are dark with blue edges, coniferous forests are maroon, oak woodlands are bright red, and yellow-green areas are lightly vegetated or unvegetated. The pink in the lake is algae and I imagine the pink in the lower left part of the image is chaparral.

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DeLorme. Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer. Freeport, Maine: DeLorme, 1996.

Harris, Stephen L. Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Publishing Company, 1988.

Miesse, William C. Mount Shasta: An Annotated Bibliography. Weed, California: College of the Siskiyous, 1993.

Miller, C. Dan and D. Mullineaux. Image of Mount McLoughlin at

Topinka, Lynn. Mount McLoughlin Volcano, Oregon -- Geographic Setting, and Geologic and Eruptive History at

United States Geologic Survey. DEM of Medford, Oregon (east sheet) from 1:250,000-scale Digital Elevation Models for Oregon at

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This page prepared for Earth Science 775 Advanced Image Processing
taught by James S. Aber at Emporia State University

©1998 Linda Freeman