Mount St. Helens Not at Risk of Eruption Despite Earthquakes, Experts Say
Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have confirmed that Mount St. Helens is not in danger of erupting, despite the occurrence of over 400 earthquakes near the volcano since mid-July. According to the experts, earthquakes are a normal part of the volcanic activity of the most active volcano in the contiguous U.S.
While the recent seismic activity near Mount St. Helens is not a cause for concern, the Pacific Northwest region still remains one of the most hazardous areas in the United States for volcanic activity. A survey conducted by the USGS in 2018, which assessed the threat level of 161 volcanoes across the country, revealed that eight out of the 18 most hazardous volcanoes are located in Oregon and Washington.
The survey categorized four volcanoes in Washington and four in Oregon as being in the “very high” threat category based on their overall threat scores. These scores were determined by evaluating 24 different factors that assess the potential hazards these volcanoes pose to people and property.
Lalo Guerrero, a Geology Hazard Specialist with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, stated that the volcanic threat assessment has played a crucial role in helping government officials plan for future disasters.
The 18 most hazardous volcanoes in the U.S., according to the survey, include Kīlauea in Hawaii, Mount St. Helens in Washington, Mount Rainier in Washington, Redoubt Volcano in Alaska, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Hood in Oregon, Three Sisters in Oregon, Akutan Island in Alaska, Makushin Volcano in Alaska, Mount Spurr in Alaska, Lassen volcanic center in California, Augustine Volcano in Alaska, Newberry Volcano in Oregon, Mount Baker in Washington, Glacier Peak in Washington, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, Crater Lake in Oregon, and Long Valley Caldera in California.
Guerrero emphasized that the threat scores provided by the USGS are the result of years of research and experience in monitoring and responding to volcanic eruptions. These scores offer valuable information that helps inform emergency managers at the federal and state level.
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