Should California Be Worried About Volcanoes? Yes, Says a New USGS Report.

You already know that California is vulnerable to devastating earthquakes, wildfires, and even floods. But it may surprise you to learn we’re also home to at least seven active volcanoes that could erupt at any time, spewing toxic gas, threatening infrastructure, and causing earthquakes.

“At least ten eruptions have taken place in the past 1,000 years, and future volcanic eruptions are inevitable,” according to a recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

The researchers identified eight volcanic areas that pose a moderate, high, or very high threat, including the seven “active” spots: Medicine Lake volcano, Mount Shasta, Lassen Volcanic Center, Clear Lake volcanic field, the Long Valley volcanic region, Coso volcanic field, and Salton Buttes. The chance of one of these erupting over the next 30 years is 16%.

Given these facts, the USGS says it’s critical that local governments be prepared to respond to a volcanic emergency, just as they are with earthquakes. The new report is their chance for a wake-up call before it’s too late.