Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oregon: A Swell State

Thanks for the Memory to friend (but not fellow blogger) Lurch.

After meeting TFR at her work each day and taking the helm of the MoronMobile, We drive along I-205 back towards home, to be greeted by the picture-framed view of the Three Sisters, a set of tall peaks in the Cascade Range.

Well, soon there may be a fourth sister.

Or maybe not, according to the article.

I've known about the bulge growing in the area for some time, but I didn't have all the details right. I thought it was one of the Sisters herself. But apparently it's a region near the mountain.

I also learned something I didn't know, but doesn't surprise me, which is that Oregon is home to 4 of the 18 most active volcanoes in the U.S. (Putting us in such impressive company as Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Welcome to the Ring of Fire, baby!). Those four are Mount Hood (I suspected that), Crater Lake (I thought she was extinct, but apparently is only dormant), Newberry Crater, and South Sister.

It was also a bit unsettling to learn how inadequate monitoring of them is. Usually volcanoes give you some advance warning, but still, the sooner we know the better, doncha think?

Whether the magma will move again or ever reach the surface is a mystery. But if it did, geological history suggests it would result only in small cinder cones that spew ash and lava.

...but would still be cool to watch.

The good news is that such an eruption likely would not seriously affect any population centers, Chitwood said.

Yeah, except for Bend, that's pretty remote country.

This could be kind of cool. Back when I thought one of the Sisters herself was bulging, I was worried about the towns and the city of bend and all the potentially threatened wildlife. But if it results in a much smaller but still interesting to watch event, it's a win-win. Scientists get the chance to observe a volcano being born, Oregon Tourism gets a boost, and the Cascades get to blow off a little stress, all without any real harm being done.

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