Scientists from the US government have classified 18 volcanoes in the US as “very high threat” due to their activity and proximity to people. The United States Geological Survey Service has updated its volcano risk assessment for the first time since 2005.
The listing is headed by the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii that has been erupting this year. The other four included in the first five places are the Santa Helena and Rainier mountains in Washington state, in addition to Redoubt volcano in Alaska and Mount Shasta in California.
The experts considered two dozen factors to compute a final score for each of the 161 active and young volcanoes in the United States.
The score is based on the type of volcano, how explosive it can be, how recently it has been active, how often it erupts, whether it has recorded seismic activity, how many people live nearby, if there have been evacuations in the past, and if its eruptions They have caused air traffic problems.
“This report may surprise many, but not volcanologists,” said Concord University expert Janine Krippner. “The US is one of the most active countries in the world in terms of volcanic activity,” he said, noting that there have been 120 eruptions of volcanoes in that territory since 1980.
Experts say that the ranking of threats is not about which will be the next volcano to explode but focuses on “the potential severity” of the associated damages.
Of the 18 volcanoes mentioned, 11 are distributed between the states of Oregon, Washington and California. The one found in Mount Rainier “presents the highest number of people living in the area at risk of its current” with nearly 300,000 people threatened.