It was at this exact moment, 35 years ago, that the deadliest and most economically-destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States occurred just 60 miles from where I now live. Fifty-seven people were killed. 250 homes were wiped out. 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway…gone. An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale triggered an eruption and caused a massive debris avalanche that reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 feet
Mount Rainier is an active volcano. We all live in its shadow and love having it serve as one of our state’s most iconic symbols. We drink in its abundant wildlife and panoramic views, and take our midwest friends on tours of its national park. Yet it’s imperative that we all remain prepared for the inevitable.