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Bulletin 1503

Notice: This USGS Publication Supersedes Potential hazards from future eruptions in the vicinity of Mount Shasta Volcano, Northern California (1978)

Potential Hazards from Future Eruptions in the Vicinity of Mount Shasta Volcano, Northern California

By Dan C. Miller

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (27.6 MB)Summary

Mount Shasta has erupted, on the average, at least once per 800 years during the last 10000 years, and about once per 600 years during the last 4500 years. The last known eruption occurred about 200 radiocarbon years ago. Eruptions during the last 10000 years produced lava flows and domes on and around the flanks of Mount Shasta, and pyroclastic flows from summit and flank vents extended as far as 20 km from the summit. Most of these eruptions also produced large mudflows, many of which reached more than several tens of kilometers from Mount Shasta. Future eruptions like those of the past could endanger the communities of Weed, Mount Shasta, McCloud, and Dunsmuir, located at or near the base of Mount Shasta. Such eruptions will most likely produce deposits of lithic ash, lava flows, domes, and pyroclastic flows. Lava flows and pyroclastic flows may affect low- and flat-lying ground almost anywhere within about 20 km of the summit of Mount Shasta, and mudflows may cover valley floors and other low areas as much as several tens of kilometers from the volcano. On the basis of its past behavior, Mount Shasta is not likely to erupt large volumes of pumiceous ash in the future; areas subject to the greatest risk from air-fall tephra are located mainly east and within about 50 km of the summit of the volcano. The degree of risk from air-fall tephra decreases progressively as the distance from the volcano increases.

First posted April 30, 2007

For additional information:
Contact CVO 
Volcano Science Center, Cascades Volcano Observatory 
U.S. Geological Survey 
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100 
Vancouver, WA 98683-9589

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Suggested citation:

Miller, C. Dan, 1980, Potential Hazards from Future Eruptions in the Vicinity of Mount Shasta Volcano, Northern California: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1503, 54 pp., 3 plates,





Eruptions-their products and associated hazards

Volcanic hazard zones around Mount Shasta

Future eruptions and mitigation of their effects


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