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More Volcano Monitoring Planned At Mount Rainier

Volcanic News: Washington State, USA
March 01, 2007
ASHFORD, Wash. -- The U.S. Geological Survey is installing more monitoring equipment around Mount Rainier, considered the third most-dangerous volcano in the United States.
Thousands of people live in communities built over the results of previous eruptions, so scientists want to start paying closer attention to the mountain.
During the next two years, the agency plans to increase the number of earthquake monitors surrounding the 14,411-foot peak from five to nine, ring the mountain with eight new global-positioning units to monitor its movement and place 21 small metal discs to help detect any changes in the shape of the volcano.
The USGS says Rainier was last known to erupt in between 1820 and 1850, with large eruptions taking place as recently as about 1,000 and 2,300 years ago. About 5,600 years ago, the massive Osceola mudflow removed the top 2,000 feet of the mountain and covered about 212 square miles to the northwest, reaching as far as the present-day south Seattle suburb of Kent. About 500 years ago, the Electron mudflow reached the present-day town of Orting.
Cynthia Gardner, scientist in charge of the USGS Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said scientists are gathering data that could signal an impending eruption but don't have all the information they want to detect more subtle changes, such as flexing at the surface, which can be an early sign of an eruption or collapse.
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