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United States Volcanoes

Since 1980, 45 eruptions and 15 cases of notable volcanic unrest have occurred at 33 U.S. volcanoes. Lava flows, debris avalanches, and explosive blasts have invaded communities, swept people to their deaths, choked major riverways, destroyed bridges, and devastated huge tracts of forest. Noxious volcanic gas emissions have caused widespread lung problems. Airborne ash clouds have disrupted the health, lives, and businesses of hundreds of thousands of people; caused millions of dollars of aircraft damage; and nearly brought down passenger flights.

  • About 11 percent of the world’s active volcanoes are located in the United States. Many of them lie below active air traffic routes.

  •  From 1973 through 2003, about 100 encounters of aircraft with airborne volcanic ash have been documented. About 20 percent of the reported encounters involved significant damage to engines and airframes. In eight encounters, damage was so severe that in-flight engine failures occurred.

  • Mount Rainier volcano in Washington State is one of the Nation’s most dangerous volcanoes. More than 100,000 people live in areas near Rainier that have been buried by volcanic debris flows during the past few thousand years

Alaska contains over 130 volcanoes and volcanic fields which have been active within the last two million years.
Of these volcanoes, about 90 have been active within the last 10,000 years (and might be expected to erupt again), and more than 50 have been active within historical time (since about 1760, for Alaska).

Volcanoes in Alaska make up well over three-quarters of U.S. volcanoes that have erupted in the last two hundred years.
Alaska's volcanoes are potentially hazardous to passenger and freight aircraft as jet engines sometimes fail after ingesting volcanic ash. 

 

Volcanic History Overview: Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range at 4,392m (14,410 ft.), forms a dramatic backdrop to the Puget Sound region. During an eruption 5,600 years ago the once-higher edifice collapsed. Ensuing eruptions rebuilt the summit, filling the large collapse crater. Large mudflows from eruptions and from collapses of this massive, heavily glaciated andesitic volcano have reached as far as the Puget Sound lowlands. On more than a dozen occasions since the last ice age, explosive eruptions spread tephra (ash, pumice) across parts of Washington. The last magmatic eruption was about 1,000 years ago. Extensive hydrothermal alteration of the upper portion of the volcano has contributed to its structural weakness promoting collapse. There is also a labyrinth of steam caves beneath the summit icecap produced by an active thermal system driven by magma deep beneath the volcano.

 

Volcanic History Overview: The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the >2450 cu km Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the >1000 cu km Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 cu km) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large phreatic eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Supervolcano Yellowstone caldera map


Volcanic History Overview: Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Alphabetical partial list of U.S. Volcanoes

Agrigan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Ahyi - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Akutan - Alaska, Aleutians
•Alamagan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Amak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Amboy - Western US, CA
•Amchixtam Chaxsxii - Alaska, Aleutians
•Amukta - Alaska, Aleutians
•Anatahan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Aniakchak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Asuncion - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Atka - Alaska, Aleutians
•Augustine - Alaska, Cook Inlet-South Central
•Bald Knoll volcanic field - Western US, UT
•Belknap Shield Volcano - Western US, OR
•Big Cave - Western US, CA
•Black Peak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Black Rock Desert volcanic field - Western US, UT
•Blue Lake Crater - Western US, OR
•Bobrof - Alaska, Aleutians
•Bogoslof - Alaska, Aleutians
•Brushy Butte - Western US, CA
•Buldir - Alaska, Aleutians
•Buzzard Creek - Alaska, Interior Alaska
•Carlisle - Alaska, Aleutians
•Carrizozo - Western US, NM
•Cerberus, Mt - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Chagulak - Alaska, Aleutians
•Chiginagak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Cinnamon Butte - Western US, OR
•Clear Lake - Western US, CA
•Cleveland - Alaska, Aleutians
•Coso Volcanic Field - Western US, CA
•Crater Lake - Western US, OR
•Craters of the Moon volcanic field - Western US, ID
•Dana - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Davidof - Alaska, Aleutians
•Davis Lake - Western US, OR
•Denison - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Devils Garden - Western US, OR
•Diamond Craters - Western US, OR
•Dotsero - Western US, CO
•Douglas - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Duncan Canal - Alaska, Southeast Alaska
•Dutton - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Eagle Lake Field - Western US, CA
•East Cape volcano - Alaska, Aleutians
•Edgecumbe - Alaska, Southeast Alaska
•Emmons Lake Volcanic Center - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Esmeralda Bank - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Falling Mtn - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Farallon de Pajaros - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Fisher - Alaska, Aleutians
•Four Craters Lava Field - Western US, OR
•Fourpeaked - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Frosty - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Gareloi - Alaska, Aleutians
•Gilbert - Alaska, Aleutians
•Glacier Peak - Western US, WA
•Golden Trout Creek - Western US, CA
•Gordon - Alaska, Wrangell Volcanic Field
•Great Sitkin - Alaska, Aleutians
•Griggs - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Guguan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Haleakala - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Hayes - Alaska, Cook Inlet-South Central
•Hells Half Acre volcanic field - Western US, ID
•Herbert - Alaska, Aleutians
•Hualalai - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Iliamna - Alaska, Cook Inlet-South Central
•Indian Heaven - Western US, WA
•Ingakslugwat Hills - Alaska, Southwest Alaska
•Inyo Craters - Western US, CA
•Iskut-Unuk River cones - Alaska, Southeast Alaska
•Jackies Butte - Western US, OR
•Jordan Craters - Western US, OR
•Kagamil - Alaska, Aleutians
•Kaguyak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Kanaga - Alaska, Aleutians
•Kasatochi - Alaska, Aleutians
•Katmai - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Khvostof - Alaska, Aleutians
•Kialagvik - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Kilauea - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Kiska - Alaska, Aleutians
•Klawasi Group - Alaska, Wrangell Volcanic Field
•Kookooligit Mountains - Alaska, Bering Sea
•Korovin - Alaska, Aleutians
•Kukak - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Kupreanof - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Lassen Volcanic Center - Western US, CA
•Lava Mountain - Western US, OR
•Lavic Lake - Western US, CA
•Little Sitkin - Alaska, Aleutians
•Long Valley Volcanic Center - Western US, CA
•Lo`ihi - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Mageik - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Makushin - Alaska, Aleutians
•Mammoth Mountain - Western US, CA
•Markagunt Plateau volcanic field - Western US, UT
•Martin - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Maug Islands - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Mauna Kea - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Mauna Loa - Hawaii and Pacific Ocean, HI
•Medicine Lake Volcano - Western US, CA
•Moffett - Alaska, Aleutians
•Mono Lake Volcanic Field - Western US, CA
•Mount Adams - Western US, WA
•Mount Bachelor - Western US, OR
•Mount Baker - Western US, WA
•Mount Hood - Western US, OR
•Mount Jefferson - Western US, OR
•Mount Rainier - Western US, WA
•Mount Shasta - Western US, CA
•Mount St. Helens - Western US, WA
•Mount Washington - Western US, OR
•Newberry Volcano - Western US, OR
•North Sister Field - Western US, OR
•Novarupta - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Nunivak Island - Alaska, Southwest Alaska
•Okmok - Alaska, Aleutians
•Pagan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Pavlof - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Pavlof Sister - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Recheshnoi - Alaska, Aleutians
•Redoubt - Alaska, Cook Inlet-South Central
•Roundtop - Alaska, Aleutians
•Ruby - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Salton Buttes - Western US, CA
•San Francisco Peaks volcanic field - Western US, AZ
•Sand Mountain Field - Western US, OR
•Sanford - Alaska, Wrangell Volcanic Field
•Santa Clara volcanic field - Western US, UT
•Sarigan - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Seguam - Alaska, Aleutians
•Segula - Alaska, Aleutians
•Semisopochnoi - Alaska, Aleutians
•Shishaldin - Alaska, Aleutians
•Shoshone Lava Field - Western US, ID
•Silver Lake - Western US, CA
•Snowy - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Soda Lakes - Western US, NV
•South Sister - Western US, OR
•Spurr - Alaska, Cook Inlet-South Central
•St. Michael - Alaska, Southwest Alaska
•St. Paul Island - Alaska, Bering Sea
•Steamboat Springs - Western US, NV
•Steller - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Stepovak Bay 2 - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Stepovak Bay 3 - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Stepovak Bay 4 - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Submarine 002 - Alaska, Aleutians
•Submarine 005 - Alaska, Aleutians
•Supply Reef - Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
•Table Top Mtn - Alaska, Aleutians
•Takawangha - Alaska, Aleutians
•Tana - Alaska, Aleutians
•Tanaga - Alaska, Aleutians
•Tlevak Strait-Suemez Island - Alaska, Southeast Alaska
•Trident - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Tumble Buttes - Western US, CA
•Twin Buttes - Western US, CA
•Ubehebe Craters - Western US, CA
•Ugashik-Peulik - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Uinkaret volcanic field - Western US, AZ
•Ukinrek Maars - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Uliaga - Alaska, Aleutians
•Unnamed (near Ukinrek Maars) - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Valles Caldera - Western US, NM
•Veniaminof - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Vsevidof - Alaska, Aleutians
•Wapi Lava Field - Western US, ID
•West Crater - Western US, WA
•Westdahl - Alaska, Aleutians
•Wide Bay cone - Alaska, Aleutians
•Wrangell - Alaska, Wrangell Volcanic Field
•Yantarni - Alaska, Alaska Peninsula
•Yellowstone - Western US, WY
•Yunaska - Alaska, Aleutians
•Zuni-Bandera volcanic field - Western US, NM