Lurking in our back yard

One of the people we talked with this evening asked about a volcano close to here that had potential for a large eruption. Nobody in our crew knew of such a thing and I Googled it when I got home.

May I present Glacier Peak - from Seattle station KING-5 - May 15, 2015:

The 'hidden' Cascade volcano that poses a threat
Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people.

Mount Rainier is considered the world's most dangerous volcano because of its size and how close it is to the population centers of Tacoma and Seattle. But there's another mountain you've probably never seen that's finally getting attention for the risks it poses to our northern counties.

Glacier Peak lurks within the northern Cascade Mountains. Unlike most of the other Cascade volcanos viewable from I-5 or even Seattle, this is the mountain no one notices. Yet Glacier Peak sits within the borders of Snohomish County and has a record of violent, even extreme eruptions.

"So large, in fact, they've found ash in Irish Peat Bogs," said geologist Jim Vallance.

Vallance was a young field assistant on Mount St. Helens in the wake of the 1980 eruption. He remembers doing field work on St. Helens in 1979, when all was quiet.

"It was quiet, it was quiet. You may remember if you were an old timer in the Northwest, that Spirit Lake was a blue body of water with cabins all around," said Vallance. "That all changed dramatically in 1980."

"As impressive as it was, Mt. St. Helens was actually hundreds of feet shorter than Glacier Peak," Vallance points out. "The summit is right here."

Now his role at the Cascades Volcano Observatory is dedicated to understanding Glacier Peak.

 Here is the Cascades Volcano Observatory entry for Glacier Peak:

Summary
Glacier Peak is the most remote of the five active volcanoes in Washington State, and more than a dozen glaciers descend its flanks, prompting its name. The peak wasn't known by settlers to be a volcano until the 1850's, when Native Americans mentioned to naturalist George Gibbs that "another smaller peak to the north of Mount Rainier once smoked." Glacier Peak is not prominently visible from any major population center, and so its attractions, as well as its hazards, tend to be overlooked. Yet since the end of the most recent ice age, this volcano has produced some of the largest and most explosive eruptions in the conterminous United States. Within this time period, it has erupted multiple times during at least six separate episodes. Glacier Peak and Mount St. Helens are the only volcanoes in Washington State that have generated very large explosive eruptions in the past 15,000 years.

So it is there but pretty dormant - for now...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 25, 2015 9:54 PM.

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