Get Started: An Interactive Learning Module
"Compared to any other volcano in the Cascades, Rainier is in a class by itself in terms of risk to human life and property." Kevin Scott, senior geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory in Krakauer, 1996:34.
Mount Rainier, located close to the heavily populated area of Seattle-Tacoma in Washington, is a beautiful and seemingly tranquil mountain. It's not just an ordinary mountain though; it's an active volcano that has the potential of devastating the lifestyles of many people. Millions of people live and work around this beautiful volcano, and many spend their free time hiking and climbing its steep slopes. Few are aware, however, that Mount Rainier poses a deadly threat to all who live and play in its shadow.
Indeed, Mount Rainier is one of the most potentially deadly volcanoes in the United States. In 1989, it was declared a "decade volcano" to be studied during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). Mount Rainier was chosen as a decade volcano because of the hazards it poses to the highly populated areas surrounding it, the large quantity of ice and snow covering its slopes, and its extensive - but vastly unstudied volcanic history (Swanson, Malone & Samora, 1992:177).