Would duct tape help?
April 5, 2003 1:13 PM   Subscribe

When will Rainier erupt? Last night, I dreamt that Mt. Rainier erupted. Now, I don't believe in prescient dreams, but if this were to happen, and it has, we in Seattle might not need to leave Seattle, but those closer to the mountain are probably going to want to get out of the way quickly. I wonder if an earthquake could trigger an eruption, sort of a double-whammy natural disaster that would instantly transform Seattle into the least desirable place to live in the country?
posted by tomharpel (26 comments total)
Were any of you Mefites around for the 1980 St. Helens eruption? I remember ash and pumus rock covering everything in Morton, Washington.
posted by tomharpel at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2003

When the big earthquake hit here in Seattle in Feb. 2001, one of my first thoughts was- "Jesus, is the mountain exploding?!"

Here's a list of recent earthquakes in the region- most are too small to feel.

The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network
posted by mildred-pitt at 2:27 PM on April 5, 2003

Ahh Tahoma, the breast of milk white waters... I lived at Paradise for a summer. It was great. Here are some poster style hazards maps.
posted by roboto at 2:45 PM on April 5, 2003

tomharpel, I was in 9th grade when Mt. St. Helens blew. As a kid and somewhat of a science nerd, it made for awesome talk with my science teachers! Instant A!
posted by effer27 at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2003

I was in Seattle in 1980. I remember everything being coatied with gritty ash and my mother making me wash her car three times that week!
I've drempt more about nuclear war than Rainier erupting however...
posted by black8 at 2:53 PM on April 5, 2003

I try and keep tabs on Charlotte King's website. She fairly accurately predicted the Mt. St. Helen's eruption. She has an alert page where hopefully something like a Rainier eruption would show up.
posted by nasim at 2:57 PM on April 5, 2003

Puyallup will be toast. . . .mudsoaked toast. .. . .
posted by Danf at 3:12 PM on April 5, 2003

People, if you're gonna get all shook and fearful, beware something truly devastating. Seattle is only 600 miles from the Yellowstone apocalypse. (I laugh at the idea of your tiny little Ranier boom-boom ;-)

Seriously, tomharple, I watched a 2" blanket of volcanic ash cover everything I knew for two days, compliments of St. Helen's. But, hey, I got to graduate high school a week early because of it. WooHoo!
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:19 PM on April 5, 2003

I live about 240 miles south of St. Helens and we got our share of ash. One of my favorite little towns is Enumclaw, which I will really miss if Rainier blows.
posted by Mack Twain at 5:01 PM on April 5, 2003

Um...if it does erupt, can we haul your butt into court? :-)

That Yellowstone link was way cool -- it should be obvious, but wasn't to me, that this place is not stable. Yowsah.
posted by davidmsc at 5:03 PM on April 5, 2003

I was a 10-year-old in Tacoma when St. Helens erupted. They knew something was coming-- sensors detected a bulge growing on the mountain weeks before it erupted. The blast zone was evacuated by May 18th. Rainier has plenty of sensors and people watching it. When it goes, I suspect we'll have some warning.
posted by ukamikanasi at 5:06 PM on April 5, 2003

I was a recent escapee from high school, living in Milwaukee in 1980. I remember the bitchin' sunsets after Mt. St. Helens.
posted by alumshubby at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2003

death to redmond!
posted by quonsar at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2003

Wulfgar! - Your Yellowstone link had me going for a minute there, 'till I saw all the Bible Code exodus stuff...

They do have a handy Javascript clock counting down till the end of the world. Probably worth making a note of that date...just so you don't schedule a dinner party that clashes or something.
posted by backOfYourMind at 7:56 PM on April 5, 2003

I hate to break this to you backOf, but Supervolcanoes are real.

*goes back to hiding under bed*
posted by Salmonberry at 8:17 PM on April 5, 2003

Why, yes, I was around here when we lost part of that mountain. Actually working at Oregon State for a vulcanoligist - we piled as many people as we could in vans and headed north to sample ash. We did our sampling, but the most memorable part was social - respirators and auto air filters going at a 500% premium, snowshovels retrieved from sheds to clear driveways and sidewalks.

Mack Twain: you have piqued my curiosity. Driving through Enumclaw (known in my circles as scratch&claw, for reasons unknown), there is no apparent attraction. Fill me in.
posted by skyscraper at 9:16 PM on April 5, 2003

backOfYourMind, I really kinda wish I was joking. But we are definately overdue for another superVolcanic eruption at Yellowstone. And it ain't no Bible related end-times crap. Its real live geology at its extinction causing worst. I'm actually fortunate that I live right on top of the damn thing. I'll die quick. The rest of you poor souls ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:15 PM on April 5, 2003

And it ain't no Bible related end-times crap. Its real live geology at its extinction causing worst.

But you just know that the bible-thumpers who survive are going to insist that it was God's punishment on a nation of sinners.
posted by homunculus at 10:22 PM on April 5, 2003

(Assuming anyone survives, of course.)
posted by homunculus at 10:23 PM on April 5, 2003

By the way, I've been meaning to do a FPP about the Yellowstone supervolcano, but what steps we can take to prevent this extinction level event in case of eruption just aren't out there. No linky goodness is forthcoming. We have plans for how to take care of rogue asteroids (just not very good ones). We have a civil defense network to help prepare for new-cu-lar attack. We have nothing to defend against such a huge attack from our own planet. In the event that Yellowstone goes, I strongly suggest that others on the coastal regions of the country start learning Chinese ...

Maybe if Bruce Willis just drilled sumpthin' ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:31 PM on April 5, 2003

Skyscraper: Mutual of Enumclaw and Dairy Cattle.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:18 PM on April 5, 2003

It was cloudy and drizzly here when Mt. St. Helens erupted and you could see nothing if you went outside. So, everyone stayed indoors and watched it on TV.

Nine days later, it was clear and hot, and late in the day, my girlfriend and I went down to the University of Washington's boathouse and rented a canoe. There was ash in the atmosphere still and the sunlight was golden. It was beautiful on the lake--the sky was so blue and trees, reeds, birds and water were gilt in the light that afternoon.

We were crossing the Montlake Cut towards Foster's Island and the Arboretum, looking at this huge cloud rising to the south. I was thinking how odd it looked. For some reason, the billows and puffs looked extra fine and delicate in scale and detail, and there was this pale beige tint to it--it was an really unusual cloud.

I remarked about this to the people in a canoe we passed and was told , 'Oh, that's Mt. St. Helens, it's erupting again.'

It was so strange--a close cloud with an odd granular texture became this behemoth nine miles high, rising from a volcano about 120 odd miles to the south. It was so huge, it went halfway to the zenith--you had to crane your neck to look at the top of it. It was very impressive to begin with, and so much more so when we realized how far away
it was.
posted by y2karl at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2003

it ain't no Bible related end-times crap. Its real live geology at its extinction causing worst.

Awkward silent....Ah.....oh dear. Guess I'd better get to work rapturing by butt outta here.
posted by backOfYourMind at 12:52 AM on April 6, 2003

posted by backOfYourMind at 12:52 AM on April 6, 2003

I am not a scientist, but can't we build some kinda geothermal reactor that would A) relieve the building pressure in these supervolcanos and B) give us a new energy source?
posted by wrench at 1:30 PM on April 6, 2003

"Guess I'd better get to work rapturing by butt outta here."

If you can Rapture that way, a lot of Christians are in for a shock.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:21 PM on April 6, 2003

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