Fears of an imminent deadly eruption of the Mt. Hood were raised earlier this week after a cluster of more than 60 mini-tremors were recorded around the mountain in just about 24 hours.
Mt. Hood — one of the largest volcanic mountains in the U.S. — is a “potentially active” stratovolcano located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland, Oregon, in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, about 800 miles from Yellowstone volcano in Wyoming.
The recent spate of tremors, which began on Sunday and continued for a few days around the mountain, caused concern and renewed fears of possible major volcanic and seismic activity in the Pacific Northwest region of the country.
Experts have tried to allay fears, saying that the tremors should cause no concern because there are no signs that an eruption is imminent.
But some have pointed out that although tremors are common around Mt. Hood, there are usually only about three tremors a week in the vicinity of the mountain. The swarm of more than 60 tremors in 24 hours on Sunday was very unusual and could be a signal that a major eruption is imminent.
While experts conceded that the tremors suggest that magma has accumulated beneath the volcano and could be moving up to the surface, they insisted that the quakes do not indicate an imminent eruption. They argued that even if the activity was linked to an eventual eruption, it would give warning in advance.
“It may be related to an eventual eruption. If it is, we will know well in advance.”
“A whole bunch of earthquakes. Very small. One to two magnitude. A lot of them one right after another, we call a swarm,” Professor Emeritus Scott Burns at the Portland State University told KATU News.
“If you get swarms under a working volcano, the working hypothesis is that magma is moving up underneath there,” he continued.
“It just reminds us that we live in a geologically active area. It may be related to an eventual eruption. If it is, we will know well in advance,” he added.
Mt. Hood, which stands at a height of 3,429 meters, has had three major eruptions in the last 1,800 years, and four in the last 15,000.
The last eruption occurred in 1782.
The latest troubling news about Mt. Hood follows similar concerns raised about the Yellowstone volcano in Wyoming, Mt. St. Helens in Washington — where swarms of tremors were also reported — and Mt. Rainier, the highest mountain in the Cascade Range at a height of about 4,392 meters.
Located about 54 miles south-southeast of Seattle, Mt. Rainier last erupted in the mid-1800s, but it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. It is presently on the Decade Volcano list of volcanoes most likely to erupt with considerable loss of human lives and damage to property.
The spate of tremors around the three major volcanoes in the northwest have intensified fears — at a time of heightened seismic and volcanic activity along the Pacific Ring of Fire — that at least one of them would erupt soon.
Yellowstone, potentially the most deadly volcano in the U.S., appeared to show signs of life recently. Disturbing footage emerged on YouTube recently, showing the caldera at the Yellowstone National Park producing steam and ash.
Fears about an imminent catastrophic eruption of the volcano have sparked a rash of confused conspiracies, theorizing that the “elite” know that the volcano is about to explode and are preparing secretly while keeping the rest of us in the dark.
The fears were intensified when respected geologists and geophysicists, such as Roger Bilham at the University of Colorado, warned that with the world going through an upsurge in volcanic and seismic activity along the Pacific Ring of Fire, signs of renewed activity at Yellowstone could imply imminent major eruption.
There were also fears about an imminent eruption of Mount St. Helens earlier in the month after the U.S. Geological Survey reported more than 130 minor tremors around the volcano over a few weeks, beginning on March 14.
According to Inquisitr, experts noted that the tremors were similar to those that occurred before the mountain, located in the Skamania County of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, erupted at 8:32 a.m. PDT on May 18, 1980.
About 57 people and 250 homes were destroyed. Economic losses were estimated at more than $1 billion.
Seismologists with the U.S. Geological Survey have tried to calm fears following the recent spate of tremors around Mt. St. Helens, saying there are “absolutely no signs that it will erupt anytime soon.”
“But the data we collect tells us that the volcano is still very much alive,” the statement added.
An expert told reporters that the minor tremors were probably due to “recharging” of magma chambers under the volcano, creating stress within the crust due to increased pressure.
Despite efforts by experts to allay fears through reassuring statements, it is understood that a major eruption in the Pacific Northwest is only a matter of time.
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