Science 2 min read

18 US Volcanoes Classified as a 'Very High Threat' by Scientists

Benny Marty /

Benny Marty /

The US Geological Survey just released a report on 18 US volcanoes classified as a “very high threat.”

To date, the United States is home to 161 active volcanoes, all of which are found in the Western US. In a recent report released by government scientists, 18 US volcanoes have been declared as a “very high threat” due to their internal activities and proximity to communities.

“This report may come as a surprise to many, but not to volcanologists. The USA is one of the most active countries in the world when it comes to volcanic activity,” Janine Krippner, a Concord University volcano expert, said.

The US Geological Survey researchers took into consideration different factors in the overall computation of the 161 volcanoes’ threat scores. The factors used during the overall computation include:

  • Type of volcano.
  • Strength of its explosion.
  • How recently it has gone active.
  • Frequency of its eruption and seismic activity.
  • Number of people living nearby.
  • Evacuation history.
  • Air traffic disruption during eruptions.

Following this scoring system, the scientists classified the US volcanoes into five threat levels, ranging from very low to very high.

The 18 US Volcanoes

The list of the “very high threat” US volcanoes is topped by the continuously erupting Mount Kilauea in Hawaii. The other four in the top five are the Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens in Washington, Mount Redoubt in Alaska, and Mount Shasta in California.

At the moment, Mount Kilauea is the most active volcano in the country while Mount Rainier has the most number of people in the downstream hazard zone.

“Many of the volcanoes in the Cascades of Oregon and Washington have few, if any, direct monitoring beyond one or two seismometers. Once you move down into the high and moderate threat (volcanoes), it gets even dicier,” Erik Klemetti, a Denison University volcanologist, said.

The other 13 volcanoes included in the danger list are:

  • Mount Hood, Three Sisters and Crater Lake in Oregon.
  • Akutan Island, Makushin, Mount Spurr and Augustine in Alaska.
  • Lassen and Long Valley in California.
  • Mount Baker and Glacier Peak in Washington.
  • Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

Do you live near any of the volcanoes listed as a “very high threat” by the US Geological Survey?

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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