With the volcanic eruption of Kilauea in Hawaii last year, geologists are on high alert for the other volcanoes located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Among those that bring concern to scientists are the volcanoes surrounding Northern California – Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, Mount Hood, Long Valley Caldera and the volcanic field at Clear Lake.
There have been no immediate signs that any of the volcanoes will erupt soon, but with sudden activity in the Ring of Fire, geologists think anyone of these West Coast volcanoes could erupt in the next 30 years.
The California Volcano Observatory (CVO) revealed that seven of the state’s 19 volcanoes are at high threat, with a three of those at “very high” risk of imminent eruption. The “very high” threat volcanoes include Lassen Peak, Long Valley Caldera, and Mount Shasta.
“California is not only earthquake country, it’s volcano country too,” said CVO geologist Margaret Mangan to CBS. “There is no stopping a volcanic eruption. It is very likely that one of them will erupt in the near future, it is due.”
The Hawaii eruptions saw lava flowing through neighborhoods, destroying houses and putting the public in danger. Scientists say that the West Coast volcanoes would erupt differently, with a much bigger explosion, causing rock and gases to be shot into the air with less lava flow. Much like the Lassen Peak eruption of 1915:
The most destructive eruption could come to Mount Shasta, with towns like Mount Shasta, Weed and Dunsmuir in its direct vicinity. While Lassen Peak sits in a mostly isolated area, it is considered the most active as its last eruption took place in 1915.
While an eruption in California seems imminent, there would be plenty of warning. The location of the next eruption currently eludes scientists, but Clear Lake may be the next to blow. The last time it erupted 11,000 years ago and most people don’t even realize the area is full of volcanic activity.
While it’s not time to panic regarding local volcanic activity, we may bare witness to a volcanic eruption in our lifetime.