Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Day Lassen Peak Went Nuclear

On May 22, 1915, Lassen Peak at the southern end of the Cascade Range went nuclear and produced its largest eruption of its 20th Century active episode which lasted from 1914-1917. This was one of only two volcanic eruptions in the contiguous United States during that century with the other being Mt. St. Helens in 1980. Much has been written about the mountain and the eruptive sequence of nearly a century ago and it is not my intent to rehash that in this space. What I wish to share with you are this amazing images of that dramatic Spring day in 1915 as viewed from two very well-known cities still in existence today, to wit, Anderson, CA, just south of Redding, CA, and even further to the south, Red Bluff, CA, county seat for neighboring Tehama County, CA.

I am awestruck by these two dramatic images of this powerful Plinian eruption having myself been to both small cities innumerable times. Therefore I can easily relate to how dramatic this scene must have appeared from those two communities. I would hasten to add that were this exact scene to repeated today it would be the biggest story on the news in the United States and even a big story overseas. What you see below is a very big volcanic eruption a safe distance from any population centers and contained within an evacuated zone. Nonetheless, that eruption wa not taking place all that far from small cities and numerous smaller communities even closer to the then-erupting volcano. Many of those communities remain in some form or other unto this day.

For another image of this eruption check my other column Another View From The Day Lassen Went Nuclear

Note: my friend Lin Kerns has posted a much more expansive treatment of this eruptive series on her own blog HERE

As viewed from Anderson, CA

As viewed from Red Bluff, CA


Epilogue: I have since posted this follow-up PIECE.

No comments:

Post a Comment