Volcanoes in Central Oregon: The Next Eruption and How It Will Affect You

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  6/21/2014

CascadesHere in Central Oregon we live among giants—majestic mountains that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year as well as an ever-increasing number of year-round residents to our region. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that those mountains are actually volcanoes, and that volcanic activity has occurred in the Cascades for the past 40 million years. What does this past activity tell us about the likelihood of future eruptions, and how could future activity affect our daily lives?

Monday, July 7, 2014 • 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

Thursday, July 17, 2014 • 4:00 p.m.
La Pine Library

As part of its science-themed Summer Reading Program, Deschutes Public Library presents two events led by volcanologist Daniele McKay. In both talks she’ll discuss the types of volcanic activity that are most likely to occur in central Oregon and how these eruptions might affect us. Both presentations are free and open to all.

“There are hundreds of volcanoes in central Oregon, many of which have the potential to become active,” says McKay. “As you look across the central Oregon landscape, nearly every hill, butte, cone or mountain that you see is a volcano.” As for how many of those volcanoes might actually erupt, McKay says it’s something for which we don’t yet have an answer, but during her talks she will elaborate on some of the ways that scientists determine the likelihood of eruptions.

“You prepare in much the same way that we can for any natural disaster,” she says—which is especially timely given the region’s recent battle with the Two Bulls Fire. “Understand the risks, prepare an emergency survival kit, develop a family emergency plan and stay in communication with neighbors and community.”

McKay graduated with a PhD in geology from the University of Oregon, where she studied the processes and products of cinder cone eruptions. Cinder cones are the most common volcanic landform on Earth, and also the most common type of volcanoes found in the central Oregon Cascades. Much of McKay’s research involves mapping the ash deposits produced by recent cinder cone eruptions in Central Oregon. A life-long passion for exploring mountains sparked an early interest in science, eventually prompting her to examine natural processes in detail by studying geology.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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