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Should we be concerned about volcanoes along the west coast erupting?

In this photo released by U.S. Geological Survey, ash plume rises above the Puu Oo vent, on Hawaii’s Kilaueaa Volcano Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Nearly 1,500 residents were ordered to evacuate from their volcano-side homes after Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending molten lava to chew its way through forest land and bubble up on paved streets. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

With Kilauea erupting in Hawaii, there's renewed interest about the volcanoes along the west coast.

Scientists with the University of Nevada, Reno say there are a number of volcanoes that are capable of erupting.

Mount Lassen, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens are among the more well-known volcanoes that could erupt. The one that's closest to Northern Nevada is a volcano in Mono Lake, according to Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory.

Kent says it's impossible to predict exactly when a volcano is going to erupt, but there are signs that an explosion could be near.

"There's not just going to all of a sudden explode out of thing air. With earthquakes, you're kind of waiting and waiting and waiting [and then] it gets you. That doesn't happen with volcanoes. They're much more behaved to a point," said Kent.

The volcanic eruptions in Hawaii are different from what we would see in the west.

"[For] the ones in Hawaii, the lava just typically flows like water almost. [Ones] like Mount St. Helens never do that. In some sense, the cascade volcanoes, or volcanoes in our region, have a much greater chance of have an explosive even, which has a much greater chance of killing folks," said Kent.

Kent says in Northern Nevada and Northern California, people need to be more concerned about earthquakes and wildfires. But, he urges people to be prepares for all different kinds of natural disasters.

"These are always reminders of 'have we done everything that we could for those things?' The answer is undoubtedly, we haven't. So we need to, as a community, continue to do a better job."



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