Patrick T. Pringle (born 1950)

Assoc. Professor of Earth Science

Centralia College

Centralia WA 98531

[last updated October 18, 2010]

See a shorter "bio-note" for Pat Pringle













·         B.S. Natural Science Geology, The University of Akron (Ohio), June 1973.  Major: Geology (35 qtr hrs); minors: Civil Engineering (37 qtr hrs) and Mathematics (30 qtr hrs).

·         M.S. Earth Science, The University of Akron, June 1982. Thesis: "Geologic study sites in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, southern sector".  

·         Graduate Fellowship with R.V. Fisher, The University of California at Santa Barbara, 1984-85.  Completed 43 quarter hrs in Ph. D. program, focusing on volcanology.  Teaching Assistantships: Stratigraphy, Physical Processes and the Environment, Oceanography.

Misc. Post-graduate work: 

·         Vegetation Analysis: Introduction to Dendrochronology; Three credit hour graduate field course, University of Colorado, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Mountain Research Station, Nederland Colorado. , May 16-27, 1988.

·         Statistics and Hydrology: University of Washington: One credit hour, 1992.

·         Dendroecology Field Week: Andrews Experimental Forest, July 25-Aug. 1, 1997.

Training at Washington Department of Natural Resources
includes: ArcInfo, Arc Commands, ArcEdit, Arcview, Advanced Arcview, Arcview Spatial Analyst, Arcgis, Adobe Illustrator, Incident Command System (Intermediate)


1. Centralia College

Science Department

600 Centralia College Blvd.

Centralia WA 98531

ppringle ‘at’

360-736-9391  x550   Centralia College website    web search: Earth Sciences at Centralia College

Assoc. Professor of Earth Science

August 2005 to present


Classes (credit hours in parentheses): Volcanoes* (1); Geology 101 (5), Weather and climate (5), Introduction to Oceanography (5), Physical Geography (5); Natural Hazards and Catastrophes (5), Geology of the Pacific Northwest (5), Geology for Engineering and Environmental Science (3), Environmental Science 120: Fire and Ice, Rain and Rocks: Shaping the Chehalis River (1), Environmental Science (5).

Committees: STEM, Budget Committee (Chair, 2008-9), External Scholarships Committee, Honors Council, Science Club faculty advisor (2005–2008), Campus facilitator of Focus the Nation climate science activities with Evergreen, St. Martins, and South Puget Sound CC (2007–2008).

Research and Grants: Puget Sound Energy Grant (2010); M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Partners in Science Grant with Centralia High School Science Teacher Jo Martens, 2005 to present.

Miscellaneous activities: Students in my Fall Quarter 2005 “Weather and Climate Class” helped assemble, program, test, and install a new weather station at the college. The station was activated on October 31, 2005. I have developed two new classes, Natural Hazards and Catastrophes and Geology of the Pacific Northwest. Working with the WA Dept. of Natural Resources I completed a book, Geology of  Mount Rainier National Park, in 2008. The book won the Geoscience Information Society's "Best Guidebook Award" for 2009. in 2010 I authored or coauthored three peer reviewed papers. I also continue research on buried and submerged forests, the Bonneville landslide, the volcanic history of Mounts Rainier and Hood, and a large postglacial flood that deposited coarse sediments in the Puget Lowland. I began a website for Earth Sciences at the college. .

Outreach and professional activities:

[See more professional activities at recent presentations]

Presentations on Earth’s climate history at Evergreen State College Faculty Institute (9/2007) and at Centralia College Lyceum (1/2008)

Presentation on the geologic history of the Chehalis River at Centralia Timberland Library Chehalis River Council speaker series (10/2007)

Presentations on the geologic history and hazards of Mount Rainier for Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge lecture series (9/2006) and Citizen Science Conference (10/2007)

Presentation on buried forests and recent geologic history at Timberland Library for AAUW (2/2006), NW Geological Society (5/2007), University of Washington (5/2007), at Centralia College Lyceum (5/2006), for the Jamestown Society (3/2005)

Referee for a science paper on recent eruptions of Mount Rainier for Bulletin of Volcanology (12/2007); presentations on geologic history of the Nisqually River for Nisqually Stream Stewards (6/2005–7)

2. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Earth Resources

P. O. Box 47007

Olympia, Washington 98504-7007


February 1, 1990 to July 30, 2005.

A) Conducted investigations, analysis, and assessment of geologic hazards and Holocene geologic and environmental history (chiefly volcanic history and hazards; as well as that of landslides) with a major emphasis on the nature, history, and scope of impacts by lahars (far-flowing volcanic debris flows) and other volcanic mass wasting or eruptive processes. My investigations yielded major discoveries about the past extent and frequency of volcanic flowage deposits from Mount Rainier volcanom allowed correlation of the most recent eruptions of Mount Hood with the observations of Lewis and Clark, and allowed dating of several prehistoric events at Mount Rainier including the Electron Mudflow, which inundated the town of Orting, WA about AD 1503.

My studies of buried and submerged forests using radiocarbon and dendrochronology have helped reconstruct and evaluate paleoseismic history and have been cited in numerous published reports. This work includes an inventory and analysis of landslides and landslide-dammed lakes, many of which likely record large ancient earthquakes. My work has allowed or contributed to major discoveries including dating of more than 25 probable seismogenic landslide deposits in Washington State and dating of the Bonneville landslide in the Columbia River Gorge.

C) Evaluated and mapped Quaternary geologic deposits. I found evidence for a major postglacial flood in the Puget Lowland, a sort of “mini Missoula Flood” as well as evidence for a “glacial Lake Nooksak”.

D) Evaluated subsurface information and surficial deposits for liquefaction susceptibility maps—includes mapping of landslides, and liquefaction features.

E) Communicated pro-actively with the public, government officials, and media about geologic hazards issues and topics and conducting many public meetings. This work has included organizing-, and speaking at public meetings, training emergency preparedness officials regarding volcanic history and hazards, coauthoring pioneering response plans, and briefing government officials including the Governor, County and State executives and government leaders, and many representatives of schools as well as the general public and media. I devised and implimented new methods of framing geological hazards discussions that emphasize positive and constructive responses to hazardous geologic processes, not “doom and gloom” (See Pringle, 2000, in Oregon Geology, v. 62, no. 3, p. 64).

F) Landslide hazard zonation project (2003-2005). Inventoried historic and prehistoric landslides in watershed units using aerial photographs, maps and GIS imagery, statistical analysis, and field inspections.  Evaluated critical geologic, terrain, and land use factors in landslide formation in combination with GIS analysis and delineated landslide hazard zones accordingly on maps I created using ESRI Arcgis software.

G) I served as advising geologist on the Type 2 Incident Command Team that was assembled in response to the eruption of Mount St. Helens that began in 2004.

Misc: I served with Steve Malone of The Univ. of Washington as co-coordinator of the Mount Rainier Decade Volcano demonstration project of the United Nations' International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction. In concert with this effort, I contributed to the compilation of a research strategy for Mount Rainier that was published by the National Research Council (1994) and authored a report on progress of the Decade Volcano Demonstration Project at Mount Rainier. My many public lectures and media interviews on these topics have included appearances on the Learning and Discovery Channels and Oregon Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, and interviews with National Geographic, Smithsonian, Geotimes, and Earth magazines; the San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and other media. I have been an active participant in the volcanic hazards working groups that have recently completed response plans and educational activities on the subject of volcanic hazards at Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Glacier Peak volcanoes. Please see listing of interviews and publications at the end of this addendum. John Krakauer was awarded the Perlman Award for Science Journalism by the American Geophysical Union because of his Smithsonian article mentioned above.

My major written products (found in an accompanying complete list of publications) include Roadside geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity. A similar book on Mount Rainier is in final review stages. Some of the 18 peer-reviewed or refereed papers I have coauthored have appeared in Earth Science, Northwest Science, Geology, GSA Bulletin, Science, EOS, and as several U.S. Geological Survey Professional Papers, and in scientific volumes.

3. Geologist— Volcanic hazards program at US Geological Survey—Cascades Volcano Observatory (August, 1982 to January 19, 1990); Public Information Officer during Sept. 1986 to Sept. 1987

·         Studies of stratigraphy, and Holocene geologic history of Mount Rainier, Washington and Mount Hood, Oregon as part of a volcanic and hydrologic hazards assessment of these volcanoes; and investigations of lahar flow processes and deposits at Mount St. Helens. Published papers in Geologic Society of America Bulletin, Northwest Science, and USGS Professional Papers.

·         Studies of geomorphology of Mount St. Helens 1980 deposits and post-1980 processes.

·         During 1986, I conducted stratigraphic studies of ancient and modern debris flows in Grand Canyon National Park. This project, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, was part of a sediment budget and environmental history study of the Colorado River and has resulted in three publications, including U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1492 and a paper in Geology.

·         September 1986 to September 1987: I served as Public Information Officer at USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in addition to carrying on my research duties in the volcanic hazards program.


Centralia College, Assoc. Professor of Earth Science

June 18, 2005 to present

Research Partner, The Pacific Northwest Center for Geology Mapping Studies (GEOMAPNW):

Affiliate: Mount St. Helens Institute:

Field Classes: Beginning about 1988, I taught annual summer field geology classes at Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, or Mount Rainier through the abovementioned non-profit institutions. The classes lasted from one to three days and were academically accredited through Portland State or Seattle Pacific Universities. I organized and co-taught (with Ken Cameron) a three-day Mount Hood Field Geology Seminar through Pacific Northwest Parks and Forests Association from 1988 through 1994. In 1994 I taught “Trailside Geology of Mount Rainier”. I designed and led a one-day field class called “Geology in the heart of the blast zone” through the Mount St. Helen Institute (MSHI) from 2000-2002. References for the MSHI classes are Peter Frenzen, Mount St. Helens Monument Scientist (360.247.3935) or Dr. John Bishop of Washington State University Vancouver, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98686; 360.546.9612. Sadly, the Pacific NW Parks and Forests Assoc. cancelled its field class program during the mid 1990s.

Adjunct faculty: South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia, WA. Instructor for Geology 101 spring, 2004.

Adjunct faculty: Clark College, Vancouver, WA.  I taught Geology 101 during Spring Quarter 1989.

Adjunct Faculty: Volcano Process and Hazards, University of Washington Engineering Dept.

Contributing lecturer on volcanic processes and hazards for engineering geology classes coordinated by Dr. Derek Booth and Kathy Troost.


I have given many presentations at The Evergreen State College (TESC). There I worked with Carolyn Dobbs, Ken Tabbutt, and Paul Butler on a special long-term project devoted to Mount Rainier, during which I led a day-long field trip, gave a 3-hour lecture, and later worked with several student groups conducting research for this class. I have given many other presentations at TESC, WWU, UPS, PLU, UW, WSU Pullman, Green River Community College, Highline CC, Clark College, University of Oregon, Centralia CC, Pierce College, and South Puget Sound Community College (1987).

Students in the Watershed teachers workshops

I taught geology modules in “Students in the Watershed” teachers’ workshops during three successive years through the Department of Natural Resources and received 2 awards for my efforts from former Lands Commissioner Jennifer Belcher.

Misc. workshops for teachers

I had a lead role in conducting two multi-day workshops for teachers. One, “Volcanoes for Earth Science Teachers” (1997), was a five-day geology field seminar for some 20 teachers at Mount St. Helens, Washington. This seminar was offered via a grant from the National Science Foundation. Russ Weaver of Heritage High School in Vancouver, WA organized and supervised this workshop (360.604.3400).

I have conducted numerous field trips for teachers’ organizations, including two for regional meetings of the National Association of Geology Teachers (1996, 2001), and two for National Association of Science Teachers, one of those being a field trip to Mount St. Helens for an annual meeting of the National Assoc. of Science Teachers (NAST) in 1989. (See additional notes under “field trips” below).

Graduate fellowship and teaching assistantships, University of California, Santa Barbara

Graduate Fellowship with R.V. Fisher, 1984-85. Completed 43 quarter hrs in Ph. D. program, focusing on volcanology.

Teaching assistantships: Stratigraphy, Physical Processes and the Environment, and Oceanography at UCSB 1984-1985.


I am proud to have mentored many students, some in Junior High; most doing capstone projects as seniors. During 2002, I mentored two students from NOVA School for the Science Olympiad. Two high school students, Rosalee Lamm and Candice Marburger, are now enrolled in graduate programs in geology, at MIT and The University of Arizona respectively. See also description of the Murdock Trust Grant below:

Honors and Miscellany

·         2009 Natural Areas Conference Keynote speaker

·         Mount Rainier roadside geology book wins Geoscience Information Society’s Best Guidebook Award for 2009

·         Exceptional Faculty Award, Centralia College 2009

·         2005 Spring Quarter Washington Reads Award: Presented to Patrick Pringle from Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and State Librarian Jan Walsh for his work Roadside geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity.

·         2002 and 2003: I received an M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Partners in Science Grant with Russ Weaver (Heritage High School, Vancouver, WA). Title: “Use of dendrochronology to date and better understand the Bonneville landslide, Columbia River Gorge, Washington”. Russ and I presented our preliminary results at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (2003). In 2004, Russ was awarded a $7,000 supplemental grant from the trust. I wrote a summary of our grant work that appears on p. 2 of an online article:

·         Commissioner of Public Lands Award of Appreciation for contributions during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake: I briefed Governor Gary Locke during this emergency and served at the Emergency Operations Center.

·         Commissioner of Public Lands Leadership Award, 2000

·         Invited Speaker, National Risk and Insurance Mgmt. Assoc., Annual Mtg. 1998, Seattle WA

·         1998 MacFarlen Lecturer, University of Kentucky, Lexington

·         1995, Keynote lecturer, Saskatchewan Geological Survey Annual Open-House, Saskatoon

·         Northwest Technical Writing Association award 1993 for IC-88.

·         U.S. Geological Survey Special Achievement Award for publications on the eruption and debris-flow history of Mount Hood, Oregon, 1987.

·         Graduate Fellowship—Department of Geologic Sciences, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1984-85.

Field Trips (leader or co-leader)


·         2005 Field trip to Mount St. Helens for Centralia College class on volcanoes, August 13,   (Valerie Smiths’s web page on the field trip)

·         2005 Field trip to Mount St. Helens for Geological Society of the Oregon Country, July 23 with Ken Cameron, co-leader.

·         2005 Field trip for National Assoc. of Geoscience Teachers Cutting Edge workshop on Ocean Systems, co-leader with Kathy Troost, University of Washington,

·         2005 Field trip to Mount St. Helens for the Washington State Association of Counties

·         2004 Field trip to Kelso landslide and Mount St. Helens for National Assoc. of State Geologists (Karl Wegmann and Peter Frenzen, co leaders)

·         2003 Mount St. Helens field trip for National Association of State Foresters

·         2003 Mount Rainier field trip for Audubon Society annual meeting (Washington Chapters).

·         2003 Assisted as co-leader of American Association of Earth Science Editors Mount Rainier Field Trip for the Geological Society of America (GSA) National Meeting

·         2002 GSA Cordilleran meeting, Field trip to the Columbia Gorge.

·         Field trip to the Columbia Gorge for the National Academy of Science Landslide Committee, March 16, 2002

·         National Assoc. of Geology Teachers, NW Section Annual Meeting: Field trip to Mount Rainier, June 2001.

·         Northwest Geological Society Field trip to Mount Rainier (2 days), 2000

·         National Highway Geology Symposium, 2000, field trip to Mount Rainier

·         Friends of the Pleistocene, 1999, Geoarchaeology of the Portland basin and Columbia River Gorge

·         Ecological Society of America, Mount St. Helens Field trip, August 6 & 7, 1999

·         1999 Northwest Geological Society Spring Field Trip, Quaternary geology of the Tacoma area

·         Inter. Assoc. of Engineering Geologists Field trip to Cascade Range Volcanoes, 1998

·         American Assoc. of Engineering Geologists National Meeting, field trip to Mount St. Helens, 1997.

·         National Natural Areas Conference, Field Trip to Mount St. Helens, 1997, co leader.

·         VEST: Volcanoes For Earth Science Teachers, NSF: Instructor and field trip co leader for the weeklong program, 1996.

·         International Assoc. of Soil Scientists, Field trip to Mima Mounds and Mount St. Helens, 1994.

·         Leader: Geologic Society of America 1994 Annual Meeting, field trip to Mount Rainier, Decade Volcano

·         National Highway Geology Symposium—1994 Field trip to Mount St. Helens

·         1992 combined Northwest Geological Society—Washington Association of Engineering Geologists field trip to Mount St. Helens, Sept. 25-26.

·         Instructor, 1992 NSF-sponsored teachers workshop, “The gorge, the river, the valley, and the ocean” coordinated by Clark County Washington, Educational Service District 112.

·         August 1989 field trip for the national Girl Scouts of America Science Workshop at Mount St. Helens.

·         National Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting; 1989 field trip to Mount St. Helens.

·         American Society of Photogrammetry International meeting and field trip to Mount St. Helens, June 1983.

·         28th annual Ohio intercollegiate geology field trip to Cuyahoga Valley Nat. Rec. Area, 1978.

 Selected Recent Academic, Public, Government Presentations (since 1998)

·        2006 Keynote presentation “Volcanic History and Hazards of Mount Rainier” at the first Citizen Science Symposium (Lacey, WA) sponsored by the Nisqually Reach Nature Center (Oct. 21)

·         2006 Summer Lecture Series Presentation on Mount Rainier at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (August 9)

·         2006 Presentation to the Northwest Geological Society (May 16)

·         2006 Lyceum Presentation at Centralia College (May 4)

·         2005 Invited  Presentation “An overview of its past history and impacts on volcanic hazards awareness (or, an active volcano in our backyard changed the way we think about volcanoes)” at the Geofest 2005, US Forest Service national minerals and geology workshop celebrating the 100th anniversary of the US Forest Service.

·         2005 Presentation “Mt. St. Helens--25 years later” at the Washington State Library Washington Reads lecture series.

·         2004 Presentation on the “Buried and submerged forests of Washington” at UW Burke Museum

·         2004 Presentation on the “Buried and submerged forests of Washington” to the stream stewards class sponsored by the Nisqually River Education Project

·         2003 Invited speaker for the International Forest Products Society Annual Meeting, Bellevue, WA.

·         2003 Colloquium presentation at Western Washington University

·         2003 Presentation on the “Geologic History and formation of the Nisqually River valley” to the stream stewards class sponsored by the Nisqually River Education Project

·         2003 Training presentation on “west side geology” for Washington State Parks Stewardship program

·         2002 Vancouver (BC) Paleontological Society. “Volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides—How buried and submerged trees are revealing secrets of our geologic and environmental history—a virtual field trip"

·         2002 Port Townsend Marine Science Center (a/a):

·         2002 Olympia Rotary Club a/a

·         2002 Spokane Geological Society a/a

·         1999 Univ. of Washington invited speaker: Mount Rainier Centennial Symposium

·         1999 Washington State Historical Society invited speaker: Mount Rainier Centennial Lecture Series.

·         1998 MacFarlen Lecturer, University of Kentucky

Media Interviews and Interactions

I have enjoyed working with the media on several specials for television, as well as for radio and video productions. Examples include Discovery Channel, TLC, KING 5 special, and Oregon Field Guide. At least one TV production (e.g. “Landslide”; Discovery Channel) is now used in classrooms across the country. I served the Washington State History Museum as technical support for the Mount Rainier Centennial Exhibit in 1999 and with a guest interview in a video on semi-permanent exhibit, “The Three Faces of Time”. I helped Pierce County produce a video on Mount Rainier volcanic processes for local television.

Here are a few links to media interviews:  2004 Geotimes interview 2001 Science News (Sleeping Beauty)

 Professional Miscellany


·         Geological Society of America  (member of Limnogeology, Geology and Society, and Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Divisions)

·         American Geophysical Union

·         Northwest Geological Society

·         The Tree-Ring Society

·         Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists

·         National Association of Geology Teachers

·         National Center for Science Education

·         Northwest Scientific Association, President

Licenses and Registration

·         Licensed Engineering Geologist #961, Washington State.

 Pre-graduate school employment

·         Environmental Scientist: Akron Public Health Dept. (1978-80)

·         Wellsite Geologist: 1975-76 (Louisiana and North Atlantic offshore; California)

·         Environmental Scientist: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (1972-74).

·         Engineering Aide: Ohio Dept. of Public Health, 1970-71.

Undergraduate-era Miscellany:

·         Board of Directors, Cuyahoga Valley Association: Peninsula, Ohio, 1971-74.

·         Board of Directors, Governor's Council on Malabar Farm: Columbus, Ohio, 1971-73.

·         Ohio delegate, U.S. E.P.A. Youth Advisory Board: Chicago, Illinois, 1971-3.

·         Host of a weekly radio talk show on natural science topics on The University of Akron radio station: WAUP FM, 1971-72. Guests included Ralph Nader, William Ruckelshaus, and Congressman John Seiberling, Chair of the House Interior Committee.

·         Faculty-student committee on environmental studies, The University of Akron, 1971-72.

·         Student Judiciary Board, The University of Akron, 1970.

·         The University of Akron Associates Scholarship, 1968-69.