One thing we know for certain especially about the Cascadia volcano system: these things erupt frequently and when they do, they often blow up and are very deformed by these eruptions, they are not Mt. Fuji style in appearance. So we must assume that if they do erupt, they might have massive landslide collapses like Mt. St. Helens. This means that a major city and several smaller ones can be not only flooded badly by lahars but as these hit the Puget Sound, they will, no question about this, cause tsunamis. Which few people want to think about in that region.
Here is a typical bullshit explanation about the dangers of Mt. Rainier: What will happen if Mount Rainier erupts?
The rivers in the area originate on Mt. Rainier, so they provide the path of least resistance for a lahar to travel. Communities in the valley areas (Puyallup, Auburn, Sumner, Orting, Tacoma) will be the ones that are hit by the lahar and will suffer the devastation.
The further away from the mountain you are located, the less the lahar will affect you. For example, Orting is theorized to get a 30 foot wave of the lahar, whereas Tacoma is thought to get 10 feet or less.
The lahar will travel down the rivers, flood the surrounding areas, and empty into Puget Sound… As a historian, I have never heard of a mountain spontaneously erupting on such a massive scale as what would create the lahar that would destroy the valley communities. Even then, Mt. Rainier has so many sensors on the mountain that are monitored by seismologists that nobody should live in fear of an eruption.
According to geologists, the west flank of this violent volcano is very weak. Sulfur gases have been leaking out of that side of the mountain turning rocks into yellow clay, this flank is quite steep and very weak. This also happens to be the side of the volcano facing Seattle and Tacoma. Seattle is to the northwest but the lahar flows move northwest, too.
What is worse is, if it does a Mt. St. Helens blow out, this would not merely be the glaciers suddenly melting, this would mean for 25 miles or more, it will be a huge, gigantic landslide, too. The lahars give some time to run but a side explosion means the mess moves at over 100 miles per hour giving people mere minutes, maybe only 5, to escape. Which is impossible.
We know that a small, itty bitty eruption can cause a massive mud lahar event that can kill tens of thousands of people: Nevado del Ruiz – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
At 3:06 pm, on November 13, 1985, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, ejecting dacitic tephra more than 30 kilometres (19 mi) into the atmosphere. The total mass of the erupted material (including magma) was 35 million tonnes—only 3% of the amount that erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980. The eruption reached a value of 3 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. The mass of the ejected sulfur dioxide was about 700,000 tonnes, or about 2% of the mass of the erupted solid material, making the eruption atypically sulfur-rich.
The eruption produced pyroclastic flows that melted summit glaciers and snow, generating four thick lahars that raced down river valleys on the volcano’s flanks. It also destroyed a small lake that was observed in Arenas crater several months before the eruption. Water in such volcanic lakes tends to be extremely salty and contain dissolved volcanic gases. The lake’s hot, acidic water significantly accelerated the melting of the ice; this effect was confirmed by the large amounts of sulfates and chlorides found in the lahar flow.
The lahars, formed of water, ice, pumice, and other rocks, mixed with clay as they travelled down the volcano’s flanks. They ran down the volcano’s sides at an average speed of 60 km per hour, eroding soil, dislodging rock, and destroying vegetation. After descending thousands of meters down the side of the volcano, the lahars were directed into all of the six river valleys leading from the volcano. While in the river valleys, the lahars grew to almost 4 times their original volume. In the Gualí River, a lahar reached a maximum width of 50 meters (200 ft).
Moving at 40 to 50 miles per hour, this is bad news for absolutely everyone in the path of this possible event. Looking at the above example, the people of Seattle have less than one hour to evacuate the areas that will be hit not directly by a lahar but by a huge tsunami caused by the sudden arrival of a lahar pouring into the Puget Sound area which is highly restrictive and of course if it is high tide, super tsunamis may happen.
Tacoma has only 40 or less minutes to evacuate around 50% of the city. Which is impossible. A minor eruption can cause tremendous lahars as we saw in South America.
The nature of this impending and INEVITABLE tsunami is, this isn’t just water flowing, this is giant boulders, whole houses, a million huge trees, cars, ships, people, cows, we saw this in Japan recently, all smashing along relentlessly and not ending in a minute or an hour, but going on and on and on, piling into narrow bays and pinned in by high hillsides…this makes the tsunamis WORSE, not safer!
The Puget Sound bay is not that deep. So the resulting multiple high flood events pouring into several parts of the Puget Sound will cause a huge wave to jump ahead of the flood and the bulky mess of debris pouring in will displace more water and it will flood huge areas that are at sea level and even, like in Japan, make huge waves smashing up hillsides, wiping out everything, tearing down trees, rocks and buildings.
Once this wave of destruction hits, no one will be able to save others because it will go on and on and on for several hours at least.
Here is monumental denialism: first, the writer admits the west flank of the volcano will probably disintegrate but won’t say it might also blow up, too: Mount Rainier Will Erupt (But Not How You Think) | Seattle Met
Rainier, Sisson explains, used to be compared to an Eskimo Pie—crusty on the outside and soft underneath, where rotten bits of rock were hydrothermally compromised. But science has disproved that gooey and delicious analogy (darn), finding that the mushy bits are few and visible on the volcano’s surface. Scientists have determined that the upper west flank is most likely to collapse in the event of an eruption—so watch out, Orting and Sumner.
But anyone fearing (or secretly hoping for) a St. Helens–style blowup will be disappointed. “Rainier doesn’t erupt in a big way like that,” says USGS seismologist Seth Moran. “What it does have is lava flows and small-scale explosions that put ash down locally, just in the park. Not nearly the same scale as Mount St. Helens.”
How stupid is this USGS seismologist? My parents flew into Mt. St. Helen’s crater area two weeks before it blew up. They knew the scientist who was stationed at ‘a safe distance’ who was killed in the first 5 minutes of the eruption due to the mountain blowing up sideways. NO ONE predicted this would happen! Dozens of people died because the USGS staff said they were safely far away from the volcano.
The predictions were way, way off. And now, will do the same error because minimizing the danger is how our nation operates and the staff of the USGS obeys this desire. It is insane, of course. The people living to the west of this volcano on the lahar flatlands are all doomed to die. No question about running away.
They could be evacuated but we see how that works…NOT. Almost never does the government ask for this. We know looking at Mt. Rainier that it is a messy volcano. It doesn’t have the lovely cone shape of many other volcanoes. It is lopsided and lumpy and the east flank blew up in the past so the chance of this happening again is very high on the west flank.
Seth Moran should know better than to lie about volcanoes. Like the weather or space or anything real, lying doesn’t stop reality. The rocks in space can and will hit our planet periodically. The sun can and will go dormant and dump us into another Ice Age, too. And this volcano is much bigger than Mt. St. Helens and it erupts less frequently which means that it can be worse, not smaller than St. Helens, we don’t really know until it happens.
Just as the Japanese who knew perfectly well how tsunamis slam into east Japan regularly and they built all sorts of protections but when it happened, the waves were far higher than planned and they killed many thousands and created the Fukushima mess and it is obvious that should never have been built there in the first place.
But the main point is, no one expected the huge waves! No one! But they came! And this is why we have to speculate about the worse case scenarios, not the rosy pie in the sky wishful thinking. Especially when talking about the Ring of Fire.
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