Do You live near a volcano that could blow? Interactive map reveals the US areas at risk as Kilauea continues to erupt
As Hawaii residents deal with the devastating effects of the eruption of the Kilauea volcano, a US Geological Service map has revealed the other US hotspots where residents are at risk of volcanic activity.
The United States Geological Survey counts 169 potentially active volcanoes in the country, with about 50 of them in six states are rated high priority or highest priority for monitoring.
Alaska tops the at risk areas, with at least 50 volcanoes that have been active since 1760, attracting substantial attention from volcano watchers and researchers.
Lava is blurred as it erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure, above treetops, on Hawaii's Big Island on May 17, 2018 in Kapoho, Hawaii.
The at risk Alaskan areas are concentrated along the arc of the Aleutian Islands, which is part of the 'Ring of Fire' around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and eruptions are most common.
Most observed volcanic activity takes place along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region around the Pacific Ocean where several tectonic plates meet, causing earthquakes and a chain of what geologists call subduction zone volcanoes.
Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have a yellow alert in effect for Mount Cleveland, where they have been detecting seismic and thermal activity and occasional ash clouds.
Around the globe today, about 800m people live within 100km, and 29m within 10km of active volcanoes.
In Hawaii, scientist's predictions from eight days ago of powerful steam-driven explosions at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano have come true, as they say eruptions are likely to continue.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday and sent ash spewing 30,000 feet into the sky before raining down on a nearby town, with residents being warned to shelter in place as the dusty plume engulfs the island.
Experts say the explosive ballistic displays could go on for weeks - and they don't know when it's going to stop.
THE US VOLCANO RISK TOP TEN
Here are the 10 most dangerous volcanic mountains in the U.S.
1. Kilauea, Hawaii
2. Mount St. Helens, Washington
3. Mount Rainier, Washington
4. Mount Hood, Oregon
5. Mount Shasta, California
6. South Sister, Oregon
7. Lassen Volcanic Center, California
8. Mauna Loa, Hawaii
9. Redoubt, Alaska
10. Crater Lake, Oregon
Source : U.S. Geological Survey
THE INTERACTIVE VOLCANO MAP
To use the map, use your mouse to see your area.
The Volcanoes and Current Activity Alerts map shows the location and activity levels of all volcanoes in the United States.
The map allows for filtering based on both location and current volcano status.
Each volcano is depicted by a small colored triangle with different colors indicating various volcano alert levels:
Green = normal
Yellow = advisory
Orange = watch
Red = warning
Users can click on individual volcanoes to see that volcano's page on the USGS website.
The powerful, steam-driven explosion occurred at 4.17am and started spewing large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke from the crater on Hawaii's Big Island that shot higher than the peak of Mount Everest.
Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders from the summit.
The wind could carry the ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island's largest city and major tourism center, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.
'Protect yourself from ash fallout,' the warning alert said.
Most observed volcanic activity takes place along the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is a horse-shoe shaped seismic region stretching along the Pacific Ocean coastlines, where the Pacific Plate is grinding against other plates that form the Earth's crust.
'The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area.
'You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves.'
USGS geologists and staff were evacuated from the summit shortly before the blast and a webcam showed a gray plume of ash and chunks of magma known as pyroclasts that showered the volcano's slopes.
An aviation red alert was also issued due to risks that ash could be carried into aircraft routes and damage jet engines.
The eruption could not only enshroud large areas of the Big Island in volcanic ash and smog but other Hawaiian Islands and potentially distant areas if the plume reaches up into the stratosphere and ash is carried by winds.
National Guard troops donned gas masks to protect themselves from toxic sulfur dioxide gas at the intersection of highways 130 and 132, the main exit routes from the village of Pahoa, 25 miles east of the volcano, where many of the ground fissures have erupted.
The current eruptions on land range from gentle lava effusions to moderate-sized explosions and are tiny compared to the largest in Earth's history.
Even the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, also in Indonesia, arguably the largest eruption in recent recorded history, is dwarfed by super-eruptions in the geological past such as that of Toba volcano on Sumatra some 74,000 years ago.
Globally, 'Volcanic threat', a measure that combines the level of hazard and the number of people exposed to it, is by far the highest in Indonesia, followed by the Philippines, Japan, Mexico and Ethiopia.
These five countries combine to make up more than 90% of the total global volcanic threat.
Toba erupted approximately 70 times more magma than Tambora, helped plunge the earth into another ice age and may have even created a genetic bottleneck in human evolution.
In fact, Toba was the largest eruption in the past 25m years, so there is little chance of a similar catastrophe any time soon.
Nevertheless, it is the frequent, small- to moderate-sized eruptions that pose a constant volcanic threat.