Here are a few landscapes from our recent trip to the Rocky Mountains.
Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.
Mt Shasta, topping off at 14,167 feet, appears as a huge monolith rising out of the countryside as you travel through far North Central California. It is a stratovolcano; a large cone made of layers of different material ejected during its eruptions. Should Mt Shasta erupt, it will create severe natural as well as economic impact. According to Stephen L. Harris, in Fire Mountains of the West, during the last 10,000 years, Mt Shasta has erupted, on average, once every 600-800 years. But, its pace has accelerated to once every 200-300 years in recent centuries. Its last significant eruption was 200 years ago. There are no signs of imminent activity.
Volcanoes can be quite disruptive. When we think of volcanoes, we see images of ash plumes, mudslides, lahars and other natural impacts. If you happen to be there when in erupts, it will change your life. But, their periods of activity represent only a very small fraction of their life. During periods of inactivity, the water from their snow melt brings moisture to the lands below. Additionally, water and wind erode the mountain side, spreading nourishing minerals to the land below. If you travel through Eastern Washington, Oregon and California, you see the benefits in places where the rich land has been put to use for agricultural purposes.
I hope you enjoy these images of Mt Shasta. As you do, pause to think about all we derive from this gentle giant who, only infrequently, explodes and creates havoc.