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Monitoring stations within Mount Hood Wilderness will help us know if and when the volcano will erupt.

Map of proposed locations for the combined seismic/GPS and volcanic gas monitoring stations to be installed on Mount Hood within the Mt. Hood Wilderness. (Public domain.)

The USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and Mount Hood National Forest, has proposed to install and maintain four new volcano monitoring stations on the flanks of Mount Hood, all located within the Mt. Hood Wilderness boundary. The proposed monitoring stations are intended to provide USGS scientists with real-time, early, and adequate warnings of any changes in earthquake size and frequency, volcanic gas emissions, and ground movement that may signal an increase in volcanic activity on Mount Hood.

The stations will improve CVO's ability to detect subtle signals that can indicate volcanic unrest, earlier and with greater confidence than current capabilities allow.

Mount Hood is an active volcano. It was designated as a very high threat volcano by the USGS in its 2005 National Volcanic Early Warning System (NVEWS) assessment of volcanic threat because of how it erupts and the communities within its reach.

Volcano monitoring station with external GPS antenna and digital se...
Volcano monitoring station with external GPS antenna and digital seismometer (buried). Fiberglass enclosure houses power supply and communications, and is designed to withstand harsh weather. (Credit: Peliks, Marcel. Public domain.)

Effective volcano monitoring requires a robust network of instruments that are located at many elevations around the flanks of the volcano. Additionally, these stations need to be in place before significant unrest occurs in order to catch the earliest subtle signals of rising magma. USGS–CVO and its partners currently operate ten monitoring stations near Mount Hood. The four new stations will be within 3 miles of the summit of Mount Hood. The stations fill gaps in the monitoring network on the upper flanks and near the summit area and greatly increase the ability of USGS-CVO to carry out its responsibility to provide timely notification and warning of volcanic activity.

Comments on this proposal have been accepted.

The Mount Hood Forest Service is accepting comments on the proposal to install the four new monitoring stations until August 26, 2016. Visit the Mount Hood Wilderness website for updates.

Enclosure for a volcanic gas monitoring station....
The metal enclosure houses a volcanic gases monitoring station. A yard stick showing 3 feet (on right) for scale. (Public domain.)

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