Mount Shasta: A Mad Volcano Essay, Research Paper
Many kinds of volcanic activity can endanger the lives of the people surrounding it or living near it. Mount Shasta, although very beautiful, has a temper and a history to validate it. Mount Shasta is a compound “stratovolcano” or “stratocone” that is made up of four overlapping volcanic cones. These cones were all built on a piece of an older stratacone that was destroyed about 300,000 years ago by a landslide. Mount Shasta is located in Siskiyou, California in the Cascade Range. Mount Shasta measures 14,161 feet high and an estimated 335 cubic kilometers it is the largest stratovolcano of the Cascade Range. Shasta’s lava type is “pyroxene-andesite” and pyroclastic flows are often marked on the west side of the mountain. The two main eruption areas of Mount Shasta, Shastina and Hotlum cones were developed about 10,000 years ago. Shastina is a large subsidiary cone that is 3,758 meters high and is on the west side. Mount Shasta has continued to erupt at least one time for the past 600-800 years for 10,000 years. Its most recent eruption was dated somewhere along the lines like 1786.
As anyone would who lives at the base of an indignant volcano, the people residing in the communities that surround Mount Shasta wish to know whether or not an eruption could prove dangerous to them and their families. Although scientists can predict the probable future activity of the volcano and if the activity poses a threat to the people and the community, they cannot predict the timing and the magnitude of these events.
The scientists are currently looking into the volcano’s past. By doing this they can look at past eruptions and the evidence such as rock scattered all over the valley and in rivers. By assuming the volcano’s past eruption styles are going to be similiar to it’s future one’s, scientists can somewhat predict the future of the volcano. “By looking at hundreds of rock deposits up, down, and around Mount Shasta, we’ve been able to characterize the eruption personality of the volcano. Beneath its beautiful and calm appearance, this mountain has one heck of an attitude!” (Bob Christiansen). Scientists have learned a lot about the mountain’s past behavior, going as far back as 300,000 years ago when the existing volcano was destroyed by an avalanche. Experts have come to the conclusion that Mount Shasta is indeed dangerous, and is capable of causing damage even without erupting. The probabilities and predictions are very useful things for making decisions about insurance, land-use and other needs. Scientists are mapping out the areas most likely to be affected by these random volcanic activities so that authorities will be better able to assist in helping these areas in case of an emergency. Monitoring can tell the observers if the volcano is changing in some way, such as earthquakes and land deformation.
The most key piece of information that can be gained from observing a volcanos behavior and history is to try to find out where the majority of the flowage, rock fragments and molten rock will be headed after the volcano erupts. By understanding this authorities can better label those areas hazardous and notify people living in or near these areas that they are potentially at risk of having their house destroyed or their family hurt.