The US Geological Survey has updated its National Volcanic Threat Assessment, ranking the most dangerous active volcanoes in the United States. To the surprise of no one, Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea is ranked at the top of the list, but other potentially dangerous volcanoes — including some lurking below the public’s radar — are just as worthy of concern.
Naturally because of the 2018 eruptions and other factors, it’s no surprise Mount Kilauea in Hawaii is at the top of the list. In addition, other potentially disastrous volcanoes, several below the radar of the public, are also worthy of paying attention to.
This is the first update from the USGS since 2005, so it’s actually been a long 13 years of waiting. It’s titled “2018 Update to the US Geological Survey National Volcanic Threat Assessment.”
Most Dangerous Volanoes in the U.S.
The Yellowstone Caldera certainly isn’t the most threatening one, but it did raise in threat level to “high.”
The five most dangerous volcanoes in the United States, both in terms of their likelihood of exploding and their potential threat to human life and property, are Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea, Washington’s Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano, and California’s Mount Shasta.
The United States is a surprisingly active country when it comes to volcanoes. The lead authors of the new report, USGS scientists John Ewert, Angela Diefenbach, and David Ramsey, say the US has endured over 120 eruptions since 1980, and it’s home to 10 per cent of the planet’s active volcanoes. The new report opens with this rather grim assessment of the past 38 years:
Communities have been overrun by lava flows in Hawaii and in Washington State, a powerful explosion has devastated huge tracts of forest and killed people tens of miles from the volcanic source, and debris avalanches and mudflows have choked major river ways, destroyed bridges, and swept people to their deaths. In California, noxious gas emissions have resulted in fatalities, and in Hawaii, given rise to widespread respiratory ailments.
Airborne ash clouds have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to aircraft and nearly brought down passenger jets in flight in US and international airspace, and ash falls have caused agricultural losses and disrupted the lives and businesses of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington State and Alaska.