Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/21/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt.
Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as magma from within the Earth's mantle was forced upwards, where it will build pressure until eruption.
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The researchers from the two countries used seismic imaging and measured variations in the electrical and magnetic fields in the region to create a detailed and accurate picture of the route that the molten rock takes through the mountain and towards the surface.
The researchers published their findings in the science journal Nature, and intended their findings to help experts understand the inner workings of Mount Rainier, with the end goal of potentially being able to determine when the volcano might erupt.
Mount Rainier's last eruption occurred in the 19th century. It is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet around 58 miles southeast of Seattle.
Phil Wannamaker, a geophysicist at the University of Utah said that the new images are the most detailed to date, but that they don't provide much useful information about the potential timing of future eruptions of Mount Rainier or any of the other Cascade Range volcanoes.
Mount Rainier's magma chamber lies five miles below the peak, the research found. The pool appears to be roughly five to ten miles thick, and about the same width.
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