Thursday, February 23, 2012
V ~ Volcano
Without a doubt, the volcanoes of Washington State are a surprising lot. Most people can look at Mts Baker , Rainier, Adams and St Helens and know just by appearance that they are volcanoes. More surprising is Glacier Peak, a rough craggy mountain in the central Cascades. This mountain does not have the classic cone shape that defines our other regional volcano's.
All have potential to erupt in the future. Their eruptions are not set in any fixed rate of frequency, like some volcanoes of the world. All produce lahars, flows of ice mud and gasses. These mud flows are responsible for many of the flat fertile areas of western Washington. The Osceola Mud flow of about 5000 years ago is said to have originated at the top of Mt Rainier, lowering it by 2000 feet and producing a mud reaching to Puget Sound. It is said that it created up to 450 sq Km of new shoreline and in some places still measures 200 feet deep
There has been a lot learned from Mt St Helens both during its eruption and the subsequent growth phase. Science of eruption improvement has advanced and data collected on St Helens has aided in predicting dangerous events in other areas of the world, no doubt saving many lives.
The above picture taken from Mt St Helens in July 2010. Mt Rainier is seen in the distance, about 50 miles north.