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March 28th, 2012 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: Volcanic Panic

Will Mount Hood erupt anytime soon?

drknowILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall

Like you, I’m a big fan of natural disasters. I’m especially keen on that volcanic time bomb, Mount Hood. Will it erupt? How soon? And how many souls will I be able to harvest when it does? 

—Satan, Lord of Darkness


Ah, good old Satan—I always suspected you’d be a fan. As it happens, you’re in luck: Mount Hood is considered a lock to blow at some point. It’s just a matter of when.

Hood has erupted twice in recent times: once 1,500 years ago, and again about 200 years back. If it kept to this schedule, we’d all have about 1,100 years to put our affairs in order.

Unfortunately, as with most old things, there’s no guarantee Mount Hood will stay regular. Official estimates give the volcano a 5 percent chance of going postal over the next 30 years.

If that happens, folks living on the mountain proper could be in for a world of hurt, with pyroclastic flows of ash and hot gases that would make you, Satan, feel right at home.

Unfortunately for your soul quota, not many people live up there, and the ones who do tend to be God-fearing types. You really want the teeming, heathen masses of Portland proper.

There’s some hope for that: In a major volcanic event, massive flows of mud and rocks would sweep all the way down the Sandy River valley, reaching Troutdale in about 3½ hours. You just need to figure out a way to get all the hipsters to Troutdale! Good luck with that.

Sorry I don’t have better news for you—when it comes to grim-reaping, Rose City-related volcanism may not be your best bet. Still, if it’s a choice between waiting for Mount Hood to erupt and getting involved in a fiddle contest in Georgia, I’d pick the former.

 
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