Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest

October 12th, 2010 by Smithsonian Journeys


File:MSH82 st helens plume from harrys ridge 05-19-82.jpg

Mount St. Helens on May 19, 1982. Photo: US Geological Survey.

Located only 50 miles from Portland, Oregon, Washington State’s Mount St. Helens is seared into our memories for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980. The eruption took life, property, and the summit of Mount St. Helens, which is now topped by a large crater. While Mount St. Helens is the nation’s most active volcano, the Pacific Northwest actually has a long history of volcanic activity, centered on the Cascades mountain range.

At Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument, visitors can explore the Lava River Cave, a lava tube formed after a volcanic eruption when surface lava cooled and hot lava continued to flow beneath. The underground channel where this lava flowed now forms a long cave. Crater Lake, also in Oregon, the deepest lake in the United States, was also formed by volcanic activity.

Of course, there’s more to the Pacific Northwest than volcanoes. Join us next September for our Pacific Northwest Hiking experience to learn about all of the state’s stunning natural wonders and biodiversity, as well as the delicious food and wine of Oregon and Washington.

Where’s your favorite place to go hiking? Please share.

Did you know? The Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program tracks volcanic activity worldwide, and you can click here  for more on Mount St. Helens.

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2 Responses to “Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest”

  1. Gap Year Bray Says:

    Mu favourite place to go hiking is in the South of France, there are some fantastic gorges to spend a day (or a night) exploring.

  2. E. Gordon Says:

    I hiked Mt. Rainier a couple years ago with a good friend and native Washingtonian. While I’m more of a city girl, it was still a great experience to be outside and out of my element. And the views were beautiful! I’ve actually been hoping to try it again sometime!

    (P.S. HI MOM!)

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