PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In early November, experts with the U.S. Geological Survey announced that Mount St. Helens was not at risk of erupting after more than 400 earthquakes were recorded near the mountain since mid-July. Earthquakes are simply part of what the most active volcano in the contiguous U.S. does, experts said.
While the Pacific Northwest has shown no recent signs of an impending volcanic eruption, the region remains one of the more hazardous areas in the U.S. for volcanic activity. A “threat assessment” survey of 161 volcanoes around the U.S. published by the USGS in 2018 shows that Oregon and Washington have eight of the 18 most hazardous volcanoes in the U.S.
According to the survey, four volcanoes in Washington and four volcanoes in Oregon are all listed in the “very high” threat category based on their overall “threat score.” The scores were totaled using 24 different factors that assess the hazards a volcano presents to people and property, the USGS said.
Geology Hazard Specialist with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Lalo Guerrero told KOIN 6 News that the volcanic threat assessment has helped government officials plan for future disasters.
The 18 most hazardous volcanoes in the U.S.:
Mount St. Helens
Lassen volcanic center
Long Valley Caldera
“The USGS is a global leader in volcano monitoring and response to eruptions, and the threat scores provided in the 2018 update are the product of many years of research experience and practice monitoring and responding to major eruptive events,” Guerrero said. “There is a lot of details that go into these threat scores, and they provide good information that helps inform emergency managers at the federal and state level.”