For whatever reason, I became curious about exactly how dangerous the volcanoes are that are somewhat close to Idaho. I learned several things that made me sorry that I ever researched this stuff in the first place.

If you go to the USGS website, you'll notice a very handy map that shows all active volcanoes in our part of the country. The ones in green are the not nice ones.


The volcanoes that are considered to be active and dangerous are the Cascades to the west and Yellowstone to our east. Yellowstone isn't really one we realistically worry about since the eruptions are rare (albeit catastrophic when/if they happen). On a day-to-day basis, we're probably more likely to see Mt. St. Helens or Rainier cause a problem that would affect Idaho.

After digesting some volcano basics from the USGS, I came across an article from a couple years ago on Business Insider that claims the Pacific Northwest volcanoes aren't being monitored enough. This was based on a government report that assessed that scientists can't realistically keep track of all the small activity that might indicate a problem. The only time detailed monitoring is put in place is if there is some type of major activity. Here's a key part of that USGS report:

...monitoring capabilities at many hazardous volcanoes are known to be sparse or antiquated, and some hazardous volcanoes have no ground-based monitoring whatsoever.

I don't know about you, but "sparse" and "antiquated" are not words I want to think about when I consider what sort of an eye our government scientists have on the big areas of magma beneath us.

It appears that this comes down to a simple problem of not having enough federal funds to keep an eye on everything. All I know is it will be quite awhile before I watch "Dante's Peak" again.