Volcanoes Stiffen The Threat to Natural Disaster in The Western US

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Tucker Leach, Staff Writer

Volcanic danger looms over the Western United States. Protected from the decimating hurricanes that batter the Eastern U.S, the western states are facing a possibly devastating threat. Eighteen of the United States’ 181 active volcanoes have been declared highly dangerous by the U.S. Geological Service. Every Volcano is in the west. These volcanoes, including Kilauea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii; Mount St. Helens, and Mount Rainer in Washington; Augustine, and Redoubt Volcano in Alaska’ California’s Mount Shasta, and Lassen and Long Valley; and Mount Hood, Three Sisters, and Crater Lake in Oregon.

A U.S. Geological Survey report said, “Eleven of the eighteen volcanoes were located in Washington, Oregon, or California, and their explosive and often snow and ice-covered edifices can project hazards long distances to densely populated and highly developed areas”. The eighteen volcanoes have been declared highly dangerous due to their proximity to large populations of people, important cities, and their immense amount of power. The high danger volcanoes have the ability to cause catastrophic devastation in the event they erupt. The high-risk ranking does not mean they are certain to erupt, but instead serves as an indication of how much damage would be caused if they did.

Aside from the destructive ability of the volcanoes, those on mainland U.S soil have little to no monitoring. Volcanologist Erik Lemetti of Denison University said,” Many of the volcanoes in the Cascades of Oregon and Washington have few, if any, direct monitoring beyond one or two seismometers, once you move down into the high and moderate threat, it gets even dicer.” Leaving most of the big eighteen volcanoes un-monitored and heavily understaffed. Even as Hawaii is still rebuilding after the eruption of Kilauea on May 3rd, the U.S may be rocked by another volcanic eruption. The U.S. Geological Service is working to reinforce the monitoring and detecting systems on each of the high-risk mountains.