Monday, June 18, 2012

Mt. Rainier

Full Moon Rising over Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Here, the horizon is dominated by Mount Rainier, a 14,410 ft. active volcano.

Because we are at 1200 ft. elevation, our view of 'The Mountain', as it is known here, is partially blocked by higher hills. From down in the valley, as the Puget Sound Region is known, you can see the full height and breadth of Mount Rainier. It is quite majestic.

Sunrise on Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Every day brings a different view of this amazing peak. This photo was taken at sunrise in late fall. You can see the foothills have snow from an early dusting.
We face South East, so we have amazing sunrises. We can't see the Sunsets, but we can see 'The Mountain' turn pink from the setting sun.
Setting Sun Reflected on Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Mount Rainier is a relatively young volcano, only about 500,000 years old. By contrast the mountains of the Cascade Range that Mount Rainier looks down upon are at least 12 million years old!
Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth highest peak in the contiguous United States. Geologists consider this mountain to be an 'episodically active' volcano, meaning one that will erupt again some time in the future, even though it may be quiet now.
The last estimated eruption was between 1820 and 1894.
Thunder Cloud over Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
There are over 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow cover on Mount Rainier. Of all the glaciers in the contiguous U.S., Mount Rainier's Emmons Glacier has the largest surface area (4.3 square miles), Carbon Glacier is the longest (5.7 miles), the thickest (700 feet) and has the lowest terminus elevation (3,500 feet) in the contiguous U.S.
Atmospheric Clouds Covering Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
This Volcano is considered a very dangerous volcano. Not only for a possible eruption, but because of the danger of catastrophic Lahar's. A Lahar is a large mud flow, with the consistency of concrete, generated by glacial failure and rock falls.
A new state report released recently finds that a catastrophic mud flow from Mount Rainier could cause $13 billion in property destruction, not to mention potential loss of life. Mount Rainier has 6 major drainages where this could occur. The most destructive Lahar would be in the Puyallup River Valley which is heavily populated. Major Lahar's occur on Mount Rainier every 500-1,000 years. The last one to reach the lowlands was the Electron Mudflow which happened 500 years ago. It was caused by a slope failure on the west flank of Mount Rainier and not by an eruption.
Cap of Swirling Clouds Captured by Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Pierce County Emergency Management operates 17 outdoor lahar sirens in the Puyallup River Valley that are tested monthly. There are nine other lahar sirens operated by the cities of Puyallup, Fife and Orting.
In the event of a lahar, acoustic flow monitors on Mount Rainier would trigger a warning system that includes the 17 sirens and Pierce County Alert, an automated phone notification system.
The estimated time for escape would be less than 40 minutes, depending on where you lived. There are signs along main arterials directing you to higher ground.
There are estimates that a lahar could leave 40 feet of mud (and trees and boulders) behind in the city of Orting.
Lucky for Hubby and I, we live on higher ground. That's not to say we could ever get out without a helicopter lift if the Mountain decides to erupt.
But at least I would have great pictures!
Mount Rainier forms it's own weather systems. Reticular clouds spin off from the swirling weather around the mountain.
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
And so every day we live with the terrible knowledge that this is a sleeping volcano, capable of great destruction.
But with all things in life, there are trade-offs and risks.
Living in the shadow of this amazing Mountain is an adventure of ever changing vistas, uncertainty and incredible beauty.
 Linking with Weekly Top Shot


  1. Wow, oh, WOW! These are gorgeous shots! Each one is as beautiful as the others. They're real show-stoppers! Great information about the volcano, too, though, of course, it's unsettling to think about its potential. (We always had worries about "The Next Big One" earthquake when we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.) Wonderful post!

  2. Thank you, Kay for your kind comments! I see that you can understand that feeling, coming from the Bay Area. We all live with risks, some more obvious than others, I guess. Thank you for visiting me - I hope your week is wonderful. xx

  3. These photos are absolutely stunning. The colors of the sky, the cloud formations, everything just screams wow, just stupendous.

  4. Gorgeous... the moods of Rainier! Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #35!

  5. Amazing view, Karen. I think the trade-off is worth it. <3

  6. Wow! These clouds are amazing! Great photos.
    Thanks for stopping by at Polonica:Home Again.
    That girl's cub scout shirt my daughter was wearing in the photo was vintage and it was a fashion statement rather than her being an actual girl cub scout :-).

  7. I love our mountain! She is magnificent.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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