M-P, Mythology, Washington

Mt. St. Helens

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Mount St. Helens was in the news again on May 1, 2014 with a new build-up of magma. The USGS says it is an impending “long-term uplift” coinciding with some increased seismic activity. Despite recently making the news, this is just what the volcano routinely does.

May 1 2014 Magma build-up article http://www.techtimes.com/articles/6346/20140501/mount-st-helens-builds-up-magma-no-imminent-eruption-usgs.htm

This is the anniversary of the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, the deadliest volcanic event in the history of the United States.

Mt. St. Helens is the most active volcano in the Cascade Range Volcanic Arc which is a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is a stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano with steep-sided mostly symmetrical cones.

Mt. St. Helens

Fifty-seven people died and the animal loss was estimated at 7000 big game animals, 12 million salmon in hatcheries and more small animals than could be estimated.

The eruption column reached 80,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, spread across the US in 3 days and it circled the globe within 15 days.

The blast itself released 24 mega tons of thermal energy. The temperature of the lateral blast was at least 660 degrees and traveling at 300 miles per hour.

The Mountain’s elevation before the blast was 9,677 feet. It is now at 8,363 feet.

CNN Mt. St. Helens Facts http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/26/us/mount-st-helens-fast-facts/index.html

The Klickitat have one of the most famous of the Native American legends of the mountain. In this story, often called the “Bridge of the Gods” the chief of all gods had two sons named Pahto who became Mt. Adams and Wy-east who became Mt. Hood. They fought over the beautiful maiden (once an old crone) named Loowit, Mt. St. Helens.

This story in all its beautiful detail with the various endings of the different tribes is told masterfully at http://oaltomlinson.blogspot.com/2008/05/klickitat-legend.html

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On May 18, 1980, what was once a tranquil recreational mountain teeming with wildlife and graced by the beautiful Spirit Lake exploded into the volcano that is known today. Thick ash clouds, mudslides miles long and nine hours of “vigorous” ash emission ended a 123 year slumber. The area is still recovering.

Mt. St. Helens Science and Learning Center http://www.mshslc.org/
USGS 30 Cool Facts about Mount St. Helens http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/103/
Extensive History of Mt. St. Helens and surrounding area attractions http://www.mt-st-helens.com/history.html

~ lisa

V-Z, Washington

Washington Volcanoes

Mt. Rainier on the way from SEA to LAX

The famous Mt. St. Helens Volcano in Washington State will get its own blog post on May 18th, but it’s not the only volcano that resides in Washington State.

We have five major Washington State Volcanoes. Besides Mt. St. Helens, there are Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Adams. These five make up one quarter of the active volcanoes in the lower 48.

For a good map of the location of each volcano in Washington State and an accompanying picture go to: http://www.washingtonstatesearch.com/Washington_maps/Major_Washington_State_Volcanoes.html

There are also other volcanic sites including Indian Heaven Volcanic Field, Goat Rocks, Signal Peak, Simcoe, and West Crater.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll only cover the big five. Since Mt. St. Helens gets its own post on the anniversary of its last eruption (May 18), that leaves four volcanoes for today.

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The volcano I see most frequently is Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier is part of the Seattle area landscape and is the largest mountain and volcano in Washington State. Mt. Rainier has 26 main glaciers and snowpack all year which makes it an ideal training ground for scaling Mt. Everest.

Mt. Rainier is also a national park and several of the most popular activities at the mountain
include skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, photography and camping. May it never explode.

Native Americans called the “Big Mountain” by several names (including Takhoma, Tahoma etc) and besides “Big Mountain” most of the names mean such things as “Snowy Peak” and “The place where water begins”. Much more descriptive and appropriate than being named for explorer George Vancouver’s friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.

Mt. Baker (Koma Kulshan) is the northern most volcano in Washington State. It is the third highest mountain in the state. Mt. Baker is considered one of the snowiest places in the world. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/baker/

Glacier Peak is considered the most remote of the Cascade volcanoes. It gets its name from over a dozen glaciers that glide down it. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/glacier_peak/
Glacier Peak is the fourth tallest peak in Washington State. Glacier Peak has long been one of the most active volcanoes in Washington

Mt. Adams, named after President Adams by Hall J. Kelley (once he finally figured out which volcano he could name), is located east of Mt. St. Helens, and, outside of Mt. Shasta in California, is the largest by volume volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/adams/
Native American local myth about Washington State http://www.crystalinks.com/volcanomyth.html

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The constant question on everyone’s mind after the Mt. St. Helen’s blast is which volcano is most likely to erupt next? http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2010/01/08/which-state-volcano-is-most-likely-to-erupt-next/

The Burke Museum located on the campus of the University of Washington is one of the best go-to-places for all things Washington State including volcanoes. http://www.burkemuseum.org/

All of Washington’s volcanoes except for Mt. Adams have erupted during the last 250 years. For a complete list of time and type of eruptions go to: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/GeologicHazardsMapping/Pages/volcanoes.aspx


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Other volcano sources:
A dynamic map site: http://www.nationalatlas.gov/dynamic/dyn_vol-wa.html
USGS monitoring and hazards info site: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/
Smithsonian Institution Volcano Information Site: http://www.volcano.si.edu/
PNSN Seismic readings near volcanoes: http://www.pnsn.org/volcanoes
Totally not Washington, but very cool anyway: Volcanoes under Antarctica Ice Sheet http://www.livescience.com/41262-west-antarctica-new-volcano-discovered.html?cmpid=514645_20140504_20418954