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USGS ranks Newberry, Three Sisters as ‘very high’ threat


WASHINGTON (AP) – Government scientists are classifying 18 U.S. volcanoes as a “very high threat” because of what’s been happening inside them and how close they are to people — and they include Newberry Volcano and the Three Sisters.

The U.S. Geological Survey is updating its volcano threat assessments for the first time since 2005.

The danger list is topped by Hawaii’s Kilauea, which has been erupting this year. The others in the top five are Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano and California’s Mount Shasta.

“The updated national volcanic threat assessment presented here is not a forecast or indication of which volcanoes are most likely to erupt next.” the report states.

“Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that may result from future eruptions at any given volcano. As such, the assessment can be used to help guide and prioritize volcano research, hazard assessment, emergency planning and preparation, and monitoring efforts by federal, state, and local government.”

The agency says a dozen volcanoes have jumped in threat level since 2005. Twenty others dropped in threat level.

Among those where the threat score is higher are Alaska’s Redoubt, Mount Okmok, Akutan Island and Mount Spurr. Threat scores also rose for Oregon’s Newberry Volcano and Wyoming’s Yellowstone.

In Oregon, the report lists four sites as “very high” threats, among the 18 in total nationwide: Crater Lake, (ranked 17th), Mount Hood (sixth), Newberry Volcano (13th) and the Three Sisters (seventh).

One Oregon volcano is in the moderate threat category — Mount Bachelor. Three fall in the low threat category: Belknap Crater, Blue Lake crater and Mount Jefferson.

Six Oregon volcanoes are rated as a “very low” threat: Cinnamon Butte, Davis Lake, Devils Garden, Diamond Craters, Jordan Craters and the Sand Mountain volcanic field.

There are 161 active U.S. volcanoes.

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