Hidden Journeys is a website dedicated to exploring the world through the air using amazing and awe-inspiring images of fascinating and beautiful areas by the Royal Geographical Society (London).
Recently the story of the passage along the Cascades was illustrated on a journey between the two cities of Denver and Seattle and the Royal Geographical Society kindly got in touch to show me the work and share information about the project which I thought would be good to share as well.
(C) Aaron Schmidt. Rainier and Adams through the clouds.
By clicking along the scrolling images along the top and selecting the Cascade Mountains section you get through to a page with three sections of images on the Cascades, the famous 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens and a section on Mt. Rainier (featured in an earlier blog post of mine), the towering volcano which rests above the city of Seattle like a sleeping giant. Each section gives a good overview of the region, the volcanoes and the most important features around them. A graphic in the first section demonstrates how important research and study is of Mt. St Helens, not just for its 1980 eruption, as eruptions at this volcano are typically more frequent than at other cascade volcanoes.
I have included a selection of the images on this blog post (click on images to see larger versions), but to see the rest you will need to visit the site, I certainly recommend a visit! In my next post I will be talking more about the volcanics of the region and more about one of the relatively forgotten volcanoes of the region Mount Hood in addition to the importance of the volcanoes further south in the cascades which generally recieve less focus online and in the media but are equally as important and fascinating.
Mount Rainier is a glacial covered stratovolcano situated on the western seaboard of the USA. It is the highest of the peaks at 4392 m in the Cascade Range and my personal favourite of the Decade volcanoes.
Taken by Lyn Topinka, Rainier with Tacoma in the foreground.
With its towering position over the cities of Seattle and Tacoma it is seen a great hazard of the future, particularly with threat of lahars because of the large amounts of ice, and snow on its flanks and summit. This is the major reason for its inclusion as a Decade Volcano. However there are other hazards, in the past debris avalanches caused by the collapse of part of the edifice have travelled very long distances and can reach as far as the Puget Sound. An event such as this occurred around 5600 years ago in a similar but larger event to that which occurred at St. Helens in 1980. Of course a large eruption of Rainier would also be accompanied by the usual ensuing volcanic hazards (Pyroclastic Density Currents, Ashfall, Lava flows).
The main edifice is around 500,000 years old and is composed of mostly lavas which have built up over time. It is unclear when Rainier last event minor event was with different souces stating different things! According to the GVP an event occurred back in 1894 which involved minor activity at the summit. It has been a while since any major activity has been seen, with up to VEI 4 events occuring in the past as is shown on the GVP. With a volcano such as Rainier any future eruption it is highly probable that it would be preceeded by warning signs such as deformation, hydrothermal activity and degassing increases. Despite the location of Rainier, there is a lot more work to be done on the volcano to understand its history and hence its potential future!
I am afraid that posts will be a little more sparse and irregular over the coming months due to an extremely busy summer (getting married and a dissertation to complete!), however I should get back to regular posting by the end of July!
Global Volcanism Program
Sisson, T.W., 1995. History and Hazards of Mount Rainier, Washington. USGS. Open-File Report 95-642.