Photo Finish – Volcano Day!

I am starting a new column head: Photo Finish! I started in journalism as a Navy operational photographer and photojournalist. Although writing is the center of my life now, I still think of myself as a photographer first. Now and then I want to show off what’s I’ve done…and what I can do with a camera.

Today’s first “Photo Finish” is a celebration of the five volcanoes here in Washington State. These magnificent mountains are amazing structures that also pose a continued threat to this corner of North America. The Cascade Mountains extend from California northward through Oregon, Washington State, and up into Canada. The volcanoes are fueled by the ongoing subduction of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate under the North American plate.

Mount St. Helens is one of the most famous due to its major eruption in 1980, but if any of the other four go off (especially Mount Rainier), a very large swatch of Washington State will be in danger. However, there is currently no major activity at any of these volcanoes. Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens are both two of the most heavily monitored volcanoes in the world, but a close is kept on Mount Adams, Mount Baker, and Glacier Peak.

Grab some coffee, put your feet up, and take a moment to explore these incredible peaks that testify to the dynamic planet we live on!

Volcanoes dominate the landscape of western Washington. Mount St. Helens (foerground), and Mount Adams are only about 35 miles apart. Washington State. (9 July 2019; Nathanael Miller)
Mount St. Helens is still quite active. Although the blowing snow and dust in this image create an illusion of steam in the crater, the fact is Mount St. Helens is venting steam. Currently there is no indication the mountain is waking up again, but she is sleeping restlessly. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Washington State (30 July 2020; Nathanael Miller)
Mount Adams is 12,281 feet above sea level, making it the second highest peak in Washington State after Mount Rainier. It is one of the oldest of the Cascade volcanoes, and air travels often mistake its rounded summit for Mount Rainier. One way you can tell the difference is that Mount Rainier is taller and has three distinctive peaks surrounding the crater, whereas Mount Adams has a rounded summit. Washington State. (15 June 2019; Nathanael Miller)
Mount Baker second-most thermally active crater in the Cascades after Mount Saint Helens. Rising 10, 781 feet high, Mount Baker is seen 72 miles from Port Ludlow. Port Ludlow, Washington. (12 Jan. 2019; Nathanael Miller)
Glacier Peak seen 76 miles from Port Townsend as the ferry transits from Whidbey Island. Glacier Peak is 10,525 feet in elevation, and is the most isolated of the five Cascade volcanoes in Washington State. Port Townsend, Washington. (30 Nov. 2019; Nathanael Miller)
The grand lady of them all: Mount Rainier. Seen here at a distance of nearly 12 miles from Tipsoo Lake, and looking past the jagged remnants of Little Tahoma Peak, is the eastern face of Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier is the highest peak of the Cascade volcanoes, rising 14,411 feet above sea level. It is also considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in North America. Little Tahoma Peak is actually part of Mount Rainier itself; Little Tahoma Peak is the remnant of a much larger version of Mount Rainier that collapsed several thousand years ago. Little Tahoma Peak rises to 11,138 feet (3,395 meters), and would be Washington State’s third highest mountain if it were structure to itself. Mount Rainier National Park Washington. (11 Aug. 2020; Nathanael Miller)
This image gives one an idea just close everyone in western Washington lives to volcanoes. Mount Rainier alone clearly dominates the landscape. In fact, Mount Rainier is so big it can just be seen from western Idaho on clear days. Washington. (9 July 2019; Nathanael Miller)

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