Why Mount Rainier is the US volcano that troubles scientists most

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Science

The CNN Original Series “Violent Earth With Liev Schreiber” explores harrowing weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires, that are increasingly frequent in our changing climate. The latest episode airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT Sunday.The snowcapped peak of Mount Rainier, which towers 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles) above sea level in Washington state, has not produced a significant volcanic eruption in the past 1,000 years. Yet, more than Hawaii’s bubbling lava fields or Yellowstone’s sprawling supervolcano, it’s Mount Rainier that has many US volcanologists worried.“Mount Rainier keeps me up at night because it poses such a great threat to the surrounding communities. Tacoma and South Seattle are built on 100-foot-thick (30.5-meter) ancient mudflows from eruptions of Mount Rainier,” Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist and ambassador for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said on an episode of “Violent Earth With Liv Schreiber,” a CNN Original Series.The sleeping giant’s destructive potential lies not with fiery flows of lava, which, in the event of an eruption, would be unlikely to extend more than a few miles beyond the boundary of Mount Rainier National Park in the Pacific Northwest. And the majority of volcanic ash would likely dissipate downwind to the east away from population centers, according to the US Geological Survey.Instead, many scientists fear the prospect of a lahar — a swiftly moving slurry of water and volcanic rock originating from ice or snow rapidly melted by an eruption that picks up debris as it flows through valleys and drainage channels. Mount Rainier, a snowcapped volcano, looms over Puyallup Valley n …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnThe CNN Original Series “Violent Earth With Liev Schreiber” explores harrowing weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires, that are increasingly frequent in our changing climate. The latest episode airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT Sunday.The snowcapped peak of Mount Rainier, which towers 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles) above sea level in Washington state, has not produced a significant volcanic eruption in the past 1,000 years. Yet, more than Hawaii’s bubbling lava fields or Yellowstone’s sprawling supervolcano, it’s Mount Rainier that has many US volcanologists worried.“Mount Rainier keeps me up at night because it poses such a great threat to the surrounding communities. Tacoma and South Seattle are built on 100-foot-thick (30.5-meter) ancient mudflows from eruptions of Mount Rainier,” Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist and ambassador for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said on an episode of “Violent Earth With Liv Schreiber,” a CNN Original Series.The sleeping giant’s destructive potential lies not with fiery flows of lava, which, in the event of an eruption, would be unlikely to extend more than a few miles beyond the boundary of Mount Rainier National Park in the Pacific Northwest. And the majority of volcanic ash would likely dissipate downwind to the east away from population centers, according to the US Geological Survey.Instead, many scientists fear the prospect of a lahar — a swiftly moving slurry of water and volcanic rock originating from ice or snow rapidly melted by an eruption that picks up debris as it flows through valleys and drainage channels. Mount Rainier, a snowcapped volcano, looms over Puyallup Valley n …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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