Local

How threatening a volcano is Mount Baker? Perhaps it’s best to ask the mountain, itself

Gentle sleeping giant or full of fire and attitude? The United States Geological Survey ranks Mount Baker the eighth-most threatening volcano in the Cascade range and the 11th-biggest volcanic threat in the U.S., and it’s got a Twitter personality to match.
Gentle sleeping giant or full of fire and attitude? The United States Geological Survey ranks Mount Baker the eighth-most threatening volcano in the Cascade range and the 11th-biggest volcanic threat in the U.S., and it’s got a Twitter personality to match. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

In this case, eight is definitely enough – unless you ask the mountain, itself, of course (we’ll explain later).

According to a story on oregonlive.com, Whatcom County’s Mount Baker is the eighth most threatening volcano in the Pacific Northwest. It’s also the 11th most threatening volcano in the United States.

A study started in 2005 by the U.S. Geological Survey, according to the Oregonian, assigned a “threat level” to all 169 potentially active volcanoes within the United States. The study found that only 18 volcanoes in the U.S. are considered a “very high” threat, but of those, 10 are found here in the Pacific Northwest, including Whatcom County’s very own Mount Baker.

The Cascade peaks, which stretch from Mount Baker to Northern California, earned the highest threat level due to a variety of factors, including surrounding communities and the damage potential ash and lava flows could pose.

The USGS further broke down the list, assigning each volcano an overall threat rating based on those factors.

Hawaii’s Kilauea was the country’s most threatening volcano, receiving a threat score of 324. Mount Baker’s threat score is 156, ranking it 11th.

St. Helens
Mount St. Helen's erupts May 18, 1980. Hot volcanic ash spewed 60,000 feet into the air and turned day into night as the ash fell to the ground. Never before had a volcano erupted in an industrialized country in the middle of a major population center. Don Wilson Associated Press

In between are Mount St. Helens (Washington, 267), Mount Rainier (Washington, 244), Mount Hood (Oregon, 213), Mount Shasta (California, 210), South Sister (Oregon, 194), Lassen Volcanic Center (California, 186), Mauna Loa (Hawaii, 170), Mount Redoubt (Alaska, 164) and Crater Lake (Oregon, 161). Snohomish County’s Glacier Peak is right behind Mount Baker with a threat rating of 155.

For the record, the USGS lists the last major eruption of the 10,781-foot tall Mount Baker as approximately 6,700 years ago. Volcano World, a website developed by Oregon State, lists the mountain’s last eruption of any kind in 1880.

For those of you who can’t get enough of the area volcanoes – especially those with “smart-ash” personalities – you can now track your favorite members of the Cascade Range on Twitter. That’s right; Mount Baker (@MtBakerWA), Mount St. Helens (@MtStHelensWA), Mount Rainier (@MountRainierWA), Mount Adams (@MtAdams321040), Mount Shasta (@MountShastaCA), Glacier Peak (@GlacierPeak), Mount Hood (@MountHoodtalks) and Three Sisters (@3SistersVolcano) all have active Twitter accounts that are definitely worth a follow.

Apparently the mountains, particularly the ones located in Washington, have a bit of a family feud, and they don’t mind trash talking each other or any “humans” that dare to challenge them.

Their hot-magma personalities have been heating up of late. Here’s a taste of some of their recent smack:

Here’s Tuesday night’s banter between the two most northern Cascade peaks – even Mount Adams had to chime in:

And if you think that is good, just check out what happens when Lake Superior tries to go up against Washington’s fiery bad boys:

The only thing we “humans” can hope for to make this even more entertaining is for the mountains to engage the President of explosive Tweets, himself: @realDonaldTrump. Let’s just say things could get heated, and it’s likely someone would blow their top ...

  Comments