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Open-File Report 97-89

Volcano Hazards in the Mount Hood Region, Oregon

By W.E. Scott, T.C. Pierson, S.P. Schilling, J.E. Costa, C.A. Gardner, J.W. Vallance, and J.J. Major

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (14 MB)Summary

Mount Hood is a potentially active volcano close to rapidly growing communities and recreation areas. The most likely widespread and hazardous consequence of a future eruption will be for lahars (rapidly moving mudflows) to sweep down the entire length of the Sandy (including the Zigzag) and White River valleys. Lahars can be generated by hot volcanic flows that melt snow and ice or by landslides from the steep upper flanks of the volcano. Structures close to river channels are at greatest risk of being destroyed. The degree of hazard decreases as height above a channel increases, but large lahars can affect areas more than 30 vertical meters (100 vertical feet) above river beds. The probability of eruption-generated lahars affecting the Sandy and White River valleys is 1-in-15 to 1-in-30 during the next 30 years, whereas the probability of extensive areas in the Hood River Valley being affected by lahars is about ten times less. The accompanying volcano-hazard-zonation map outlines areas potentially at risk and shows that some areas may be too close for a reasonable chance of escape or survival during an eruption. Future eruptions of Mount Hood could seriously disrupt transportation (air, river, and highway), some municipal water supplies, and hydroelectric power generation and transmission in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.

Link to Data

First posted August 1, 2008

  • This report is available only on the Web.

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:

Scott, W.E., Pierson, T.C., Schilling, S.P., Costa, J.E., Gardner, C.A., Vallance, J.W., and Major, J.J., 1997, Volcano hazards in the Mount Hood region, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97–89, 14 p., 1 map.




Past Hazardous Events

Volcano-Hazards-Zontation Map

Hazard Forecasts and Warnings

Protecting Oiur Communities and Our Families from Volcano Hazards

References and Suggested Additional Reading

End Notes

1 map

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