Outdoors in the Pacific Northwest
Cascade Volcanoes

Ah yes, those gorgeous Northwest skylines punctuated with soaring snow-capped peaks! Have you ever thought about why the region is blessed with such beauty? Because underneath many of those beautiful, jagged, snowy mountains are... volcanoes!

If you are standing in the Pacific Northwest, you are standing on the results of the Juan de Fuca oceanic plate grinding its way down under the North American continental plate. Although the two plates meet 50-70 miles offshore, about 100 miles inland hot materials rise from the Juan de Fuca "subducted" plate to the surface. There they build (note the present tense!) the volcanoes of the Cascade Range, which march north-south from Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia to Lassen Peak in California.

For a nice visual summary showing how the northwest US states seem to have more than their fair share of "volcanic hazards", have a look at this map by the USGS. Note where the Cascade Mountains and Yellowstone Park are in relation to the purple color theme. Montana is the only one of our Go Northwest! states which is "volcano-free", although it is within range of the potential effects of Cascade volcano eruptions.

Related Web Sites

Cascade Peaks
Donald Leslie Mark offers factual information and personal experience of the various Cascade mountains in an easy-to-read style. Includes original photos.

Cascades Volcano Observatory
Home page for the USGS David A Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory which is located in Vancouver, Washington. This site has a wealth of information on the volcanoes. (Click on a volcano name above for links to their pages on individual volcanoes).

NW Seismic Events
Consists of links to earthquake-related sites for the Pacific Northwest.

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