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Mount Baker
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‘Stop freaking out’ over plume from Mount Baker volcano, says WA Emergency Management


It’s easy to forget that living in Western Washington, we’re surrounded by active volcanoes. Among them is Mount Baker, that reminded of us its presence when it belched steam in March, spurring a handful of viral photos.

RELATED: 5 of Washington’s active volcanoes are under-monitored

An eruption from Mount Baker would have long-ranging consequences, with the nearby town of Glacier just five miles away. Still, though, according to Washington Emergency Management, there’s no reason to fear the most recent plumes of gas.

“It’s always good to remember our state has 5 active volcanoes, but please stop freaking out over Mount Baker because you saw some steam in a viral photo,” it said in a recent Tweet.

WEM went on to note that were an eruption imminent, seismic activity would tip us off beforehand, thanks in large part to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

“The PNSN operates 2 seismometers on or near Mount Baker,” the PNSN website reads. “Even though not well monitored compared to many other volcanoes, those stations near Mount Baker are quite sensitive and can detect and locate events down to magnitude 1.”

Thanks to the higher placement of its crater, Mount Baker’s gas is easier to see from afar — other peaks such as Mount Rainier vent from their sides in lower craters.

That being so, the steam that many saw in March is actually a regular occurrence — the USGS notes that gas is vented from volcanoes “continually.”

In the end, clear skies, light winds, and Mount Baker’s higher crater height all contributed to the perfect recipe for a good scare for Western Washington.

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