Friday, May 28, 2010

PFF: Mount Rainier National Park

Thank you to our hostess Beth at The Best Hearts are Crunchy for hosting Postcard Friendship Friday.

For the next few National Park postcards, we are going to take a tour of the American West, as if you had plenty of time, money, and a good car. Today it’s Mount Rainier National Park. Its location close to Seattle and Tacoma and relatively easy access by car makes this a very busy park, along the main roads and at the visitor's centers anyway.

Giving credit where credit is due:
The back of this card says:"Works Progress Administration (WPA) circa 1939, Artist Unknown. Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA's Federal Art Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public's imagination for education, theater, health, safety, and travel. Due to their fragile nature only two thousand posters have survived. The National Park image shown here is also available in the original poster format from many National Park bookstores." Published by Ranger Doug Enterprises. Seattle, WA.

“At 14,410 feet [4392 m], Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It dominates the landscape of a large part of western Washington State. The mountain stands nearly three miles higher than the lowlands to the west and one and one-half miles higher than the adjacent mountains. It is an active volcano that last erupted approximately 150 years ago.”
When I was a bit younger, just starting in geology, Rainier was considered dormant, but the re-awakening of Mt. St. Helens changed all that. Its proximity to the Seattle-Tacoma area makes this volcano one of the most dangerous, in terms of potential harm to people and property. The US Geological Survey maintains active monitoring of this area.

Mount Rainier does not have the classic cone shape of a typical stratovolcano (think: Mt. Fuji in Japan) because it has lost an estimated 1000 feet due to volcanic explosions and landslides. The top now has two overlapping craters, and much of the mountain is covered in glaciers and snow.

This volcano is labeled active, with good reason. From the USGS page on earthquakes:

Cross section of Mt. Rainier, South to north, with earthquake foci plotted. Data from 2000- 2010. Most earthquakes are tiny and would not be felt.
Red dots represent events occurring in the past month.
Green dots represent events occurring less than a year ago, but more than a month ago.

Volcanoes show many signs of changing activity before they really erupt. If Rainier gets active, it will be in the news.


Beth Niquette said...

I love this postcard! I lived in the shadow of Mt. Hood for years. In fact, as a small child I used to have nightmares of the mountain blowing her top.

I saw Mount St. Helen's when she blew, ash fell everywhere. It was an amazing time--one which taught me there are some things mankind cannot stop--one of these things is a volcano!

Happy PFF!

MrCachet said...

If it does erupt, I suppose we'll end up with another ash cloud like we had when Mt. St. Helens erupted. It is a nice poster card, however!

Mary said...

I used to go to Seattle on business a lot, like once a week for almost a year. It was our favorite question - would we see Mt. Ranier that week or not? More often than not, it was obscured by clouds and rain. Beautiful though when we could see it.

Snap said...

Hope you never run out of these postcards! Love them. Always seem to forget our gorgeous mountains are sleeping volcanoes! Yikes!

Joy said...

That sounds a mighty peak, I would love to see it. Dramatic card, love all the events down the side.

Postcardy said...

that is interesting. I didn't know Mount Rainier is a volcano.

Aimee said...

Love the National parks series!! We just visited lots of National parks and monuments on our trip to arizona. Sunset crater and Wupatki monuments were really great! And, of course, so was the grand canyon! Would love to visit mount Rainier!

maryt/theteach said...

Thanks for so much info on the national parks, viridian! My post is a state park and a national seashore...


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