Mount Rainier Volcano Essay Example

  • Category: Environment, Nature,
  • Words: 850 Pages: 4
  • Published: 18 July 2020
  • Copied: 166

Mount Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, but still today humans continue to explore the mountain for all it has to offer. Mount Rainier is a large active stratovolcano located 59 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington with an elevation over 14,000ft. ranking as the 17th highest mountain in the United States. The mountain consists of debris flows, lava flows, pyroclastic flows as well as glaciers on its slopes. The last eruption of Mount Rainier was recorded in 1984 to 1985 by observers in Seattle and Tacoma. The name Mount Rainier came from an explorer named George Vancouver, he decided to name the mountain in honor of his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. Prior to the name Mount Rainier, Native American Tribes call the mountain different names, Tacoma which means “place where the water begins”, Talol, which means “mother of waters”, or Tahoma, which means “snowy peak”.

In the 18th Century, European explorers discovered the pacific Northwest and found out that the land was already inhabited by Native American Tribes. The Squaxin Island, Yakima, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Cowlitz and Puyallup tribes would use Mount Rainier and its surrounding land for hunting and gathering resources as a means for survival. George Vancouver was not only an early European to make history at Mount Rainier. Van Trump and Hazard Stevens were the first two recorded to climb the mountain 1870. The Mount Rainier park was established in 1899 and became the nation’s fifth national park.  Since the mid 1960’s to the present-day Mount Rainier has constantly been added man made features of the mountain due to the increase of park use. In 2016 over 1.8 million people visited the mountain for its recreational use and the beautiful landscape that the mountain offers.

Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington and in the Cascade Range. The mountain is also ranked third of ultra-prominent mountain peaks of the United States. There are 26 major glaciers located on Mount Rainier that cover about 35 square miles of land. These glaciers are important for many reasons. They support five major river systems, important when detecting climate change and essential sources of water. The top of the mountain has three summits called Columbia Crest is the highest at 14,410 ft. The second highest is Point Success 14,158 ft and the lowest is Liberty Cap at 14,112 ft.  The summit of Mount Rainier has two volcanic craters at more than 1,000 ft in diameter. The wildlife of Mount Rainier consists of many different types of animals. Squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, chickarees are the most commonly seen mammals. The most commonly seen birds are Gray Jays, Ravens, Steller jays and Clarks Nutcrackers. Deer are also frequently seen but elk and black bears are more hidden to the human eye. Mountain goats tend to be located high in the mountain near cliffs. Some of the amphibians and reptiles that are seen on the mountain are garter snakes, salamanders, and frogs.

The last recorded eruption of Mount Rainier was anywhere from 1820 to 1854. Today we use seismic monitors to track the activity of the volcanic mountain. If the mountain would erupt again, it would not only harm the surrounding area of Mount Rainier, but also places near it such as Canada because of the volcanic ash going throughout the atmosphere. The mountain is on the Decade Volcano list because it is the most likely volcano to erupt and cause devastating losses to life and property. Lahars from Mount Rainier are the biggest threat to people living in the area and their property. Mudflows from the mountain would also cause great destruction if the mountain were to erupt again or when it does erupt again. About five earthquakes are recorded on a monthly basis at Mount Rainier. Throughout the mountain there are many emergency evacuation signs in case the mountain was to erupt.

Every year, about two deaths occur at Mount Rainier due to falls, avalanches and hypothermia. Since 1981, 58 deaths have been reported at the mountain. Mount Rainier holds some of the most difficult mountain climbing in the United States. Thousands of people come to climb the mountain every year, it can take anywhere from two to three days to reach the summit of the mountain. The most frequently used route to climb the mountain is the Disappointment Cleaver Route. Climbing is not only what many people use the mountain for, photography, hiking, skiing, snowboarding and camping are also recreational uses at the mountain. Flora are also widely seen at the mountain with dramatic blooms of flowers seen on Paradise. 

Mount Rainier is still considered one of the most dangerous mountains in the world, but humans cannot resist all that the mountain has to offer. All the way back to the Native American tribes who occupied this land and now to the present day, we continue to use the mountain for many different reasons. The mountain has so much to offer, but also can cause great destruction and devastation to the people who live near it, their property and to the people who use the mountain for recreational use. Not only that, buy many different species depend on this mountain for natural habitat. But once again, Mount Rainier may erupt at any given moment.

Works Cited

Driedger, C. L. (2008). Mount Rainier: One of Our Nation's Most Dangerous Volcanoes. Retrieved from

(2018, October 25). eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'newworldencyclopedia_org-box-2','ezslot_2',106,'0']));Mount Rainier. Retrieved from

(2018, January 2). Mount Rainier History. Retrieved from

(2006, March 28). The Geology of Mount Rainier National Park (Geology). Retrieved from



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