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If Mount Rainier Erupted Today

Cd massive could create such destruction for year to come. Mount Rainier is what comes to mind when anyone mentions Washington because of its massive size and 25 glaciers that have been built up of the last half a million years. Researchers from all over the world have been studying the active volcano’s activity to help educate the community surrounding it, prepare people for when it happens, and most importantly to try and predict not if, but when this massive volcano will erupt. Mount Rainier is located in Washington and remains a hot spot for researchers from numerous countries including Norway and the United States.

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The main focus it to speed up the ability to predict when and if the volcano will erupt next so that the amount of lives that can be saved increase because they will have more than a 40-minute warning. 1854 was the last recorded eruption but some believe it happened as recent as 1894. That is a very long time ago which is why many scientists believe it could happen again in our lifetime (Stieber, epochtimes.com). Mount Rainier is said to be the most threatening volcano in the Cascades because of its elevation of 4,392 m, icecaps, glacier-fed valleys, and how close it is to areas of Seattle and Tacoma. Some call Mount Rainier a “time bomb” because scientists know that it’s not a matter of if it happens, but when it happens. Even if it happens on a much smaller scale than most believe, it will result in thousands of Americans being buried alive in hot mud (Snyder). Therefore, scientists believe that if Mount Rainier erupted with the same power that Mount St. Helens did in 1980, the loss of life would be much greater now that is was back then. Mount Rainier has behaved as expected and for this reason many living in nearby cities don’t believe that it will erupt again. The two million visitors that visit Mount Rainier each year generally have no idea that they are visiting what the USGS says is our Nation’s most dangerous volcano.

The reason for this is because of the surrounding cities becoming more susceptible to lahars from Mount Rainier which make it a bigger threat than the eruption of Mount St. Helens. About 150,000 plus people and their homes are in the lahar-hazard zone. A lahar is a concrete-like slide of rock, mud, and water mixture from volcanic landslides (Handwerk, news.nationalgeographic.com). They can move upwards of 45 to 50 mph making it impossible to out run them. The only thing someone can do is move to higher ground. even 50-100 feet would increase their chances of survival. If the lahars of the next eruption happen like they did in the past, there is even more of a reason to be worried because of all that is built up in its path compared to before. The west side of the volcano is where the greatest concern is because it is where the hydrothermally weakened rock is found most (Handwerk, USGS). The Puyallup River valley and Nisqually River valley stand to see the most devastation because of the weakened rock there. Locals believe they are defined by the mountain as you can see if from miles and miles away. It is on their license plates, quarters, and every Washington map out there. On a sunny day, it looks grand and breathtaking and many feel lucky to just be in its presence.

Mount Rainier National Park is a marker of where the lava would stop flowing when it erupts again near its boundaries. On its way down though, it would take out trees, send massive boulders crashing into one another and bouncing off the surface destroying everything in its path. It is said that a lahar sounds like a rocket launching or a train barreling down a track where there are no tracks (McNichols, know.org). With no way of knowing exactly how big the lahar could be, at the very least routes that connect Seattle and Tacoma could be buried causing smaller towns to be trapped. There would be shortages of food and water as well as dams that lie in its path becoming destroyed. Long-term problems consist of flooding and erosion of rivers contaminated by the lahar deposits. When it erupts, volcanic ash endangering any aircrafts that are in flight and halting all aviation operations months to come (Driedger and Scott, geologycom). Not all areas surrounding Mount Rainier would be affected by landslides nor would all the lahars travel far enough to reach all the hazard-zone boundaries. Scientists can not accurately predict what paths the lahars will take but the USGS is working hard to get the most accurate maps possible. The USGS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington are working diligently to monitor the seismic activity of Mount Rainier (Driedger & Scott, geology.com).

Whenever there are any movements, scientists immediately notify any emergency officials so the appropriate next steps can be taken. Numerous federal agencies came up with the Mount Rainier Volcanic Hazards Response Plan so that the appropriate agencies will be able to communicate with the citizens affected to increase their chance of survival (Driedger and Scott, geologycom). This includes knowing what to do if threatened by a lahar or debris flow. Most scientists believe that moving to a higher ground is the only way to ensure safety. Lahars travel at high speeds so that outrunning them is not an option. They can overtake vehicles, buildings, and anything in their paths. Every year technology gets better and better allowing early warning of volcanic eruptions less terrifying for those that will be affected.

However, predicting eruptions is still nothing more than an educated guess and far from an exact science. Although there are no signs of an upcoming eruption, the threat is far greater than any past volcanic eruptions. This is because of lahars and most people don’t even know what they are or what they are capable of. Just imagine a Tsunami of heated mud traveling at high speeds destroying everything in its path. Even though there are early warning systems in place, hundreds of thousands of people would have less than an hour to evacuate to safety. Many researchers believe that isn’t possible, but hold out hope that all will survive. Since 2009, there have been 23 earthquakes with the strongest being a magnitude of 1.6 but scientists believe this is normal and is nothing we should worry about (Mudede, thestranger.com). Researchers believe that Mount Rainier will continue to grow by erupting, growing more, then collapsing. This is normal behavior and scientist suggest it has been happening for a half-million years (usgs.com). There is also the possibility that nothing will happen, Mount Rainier could collapse all on its own due to being weak, staying asleep for many more years to come.

Mount Rainier continues to be on top of the U.S. Geological Service’s Decade Volcano list which makes it one with the greatest chance of causing death and loss of homes. Those that live around Mount Rainier should be grateful to the many researchers that are educating them on the dangers of The Mountain, what to do when it erupts, and how advancements in predictions are expanding the time for evacuation. Although some, like myself, don’t expect for Mount Rainier to erupt in my lifetime, I believe that it will happen eventually and be as big and dangerous as scientists believe.

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If Mount Rainier Erupted Today
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Cd massive could create such destruction for year to come. Mount Rainier is what comes to mind when anyone mentions Washington because of its massive size and 25 glaciers that have been built up of the last half a million years. Researchers from all over the world have been studying the active volcano’s activity to help educate the community surrounding it, prepare people for when it happens, and most importantly to try and predict not if, but when this massive volcano will erupt. Mount Rainie
2021-11-16 11:26:30
If Mount Rainier Erupted Today
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