Mt. Rainier the Great Volcano

Mt. Rainier taken from Point Defiance Park.
-Photo by Matthew T. Ross-

One of my favorite parts of visiting Washington was being able to see Mt. Rainier from almost every place we visited. The mountain is both gorgeous and a constant reminder of the chaotic forces looming over us. It is a gorgeous beacon of impending doom. Mt. Rainier is considered one of the 17 most dangerous volcanoes in the world (what the "International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior" calls "decade volcanoes"). This is largely due to the large sheets of ice that cover the surface of the volcano. This means that if and when the volcano blows up (it last blew in 1894) no only will you have damage from the smoke and magma, but the ice covering the mountain will very rapidly melt and spill out into the rivers around the mountain causing massive flood damage to nearby cities.

Kate Allstadt and Stephen D. Malone are two researchers studying seismic activity on Mt. Rainier. In 2014 they published a paper called "Swarms of repeating stick-slip icequakes triggered by snow loading at Mount Rainier volcano." In the paper they detect over 150,000 small earthquakes over a 10 year period. They then go on to explore what they think is the exact cause of this specific seismic activity. You can check out the paper here: