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Recent eruptive history of Mount Hood, Oregon, and potential hazards from future eruptions

Bulletin 1492

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Abstract

Each of three major eruptive periods at Mount Hood (12,000-15,000(?), 1,500-1,800, and 200-300 years ago) produced dacite domes, pyroclastic flows, and mudflows, but virtually no pumice. Most of the fine lithic ash that mantles the slopes of the volcano and the adjacent mountains fell from ash clouds that accompanied the pyroclastic flows. Widely scattered pumice lapilli that are present at the ground surface on the south, east, and north sides of Mount Hood may have been erupted during the mid-1800's, when the last known activity of the volcano occurred. The geologically recent history of Mount Hood suggests that the most likely eruptive event in the future will be the formation of another dome, probably within the present south-facing crater. The principal hazards that could accompany dome formation include pyroclastic flows and mudflows moving from the upper slopes of the volcano down the floors of valleys. Ash clouds which accompany pyroclastic flows may deposit as much as a meter of fine ash close to their source, and as much as 20 centimeters at a distance of 11 kilometers downwind from the pyroclastic flows. Other hazards that could result from such eruptions include laterally directed explosive blasts that could propel rock fragments outward from the sides of a dome at high speed, and toxic volcanic gases. The scarcity of pumiceous ash erupted during the last 15,000 years suggests that explosive pumice eruptions are not a major hazard at Mount Hood; thus, there seems to be little danger that such an eruption will significantly affect the Portland (Oregon) metropolitan area in the near future.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Recent eruptive history of Mount Hood, Oregon, and potential hazards from future eruptions
Series title:
Bulletin
Series number:
1492
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1980
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
Description:
viii, 81 p. ill., maps (1 fold. col. in pocket) ; 23 cm.