• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

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Volcanic Processes

Tsunami hazard warning signs from the United States (left) and Japan (right).
Tsunami hazard warning signs from the United States (left) and Japan (right). Tsunamis can be triggered by earthquakes related to volcanic activity.
Overview: A variety of volcanic processes shape landscapes. Students are introduced to volcanic hazards that may be present for humans near the volcano. A volcano does not have to be active in order for some types of hazards to occur. Volcanic hazards can be categorized into gases, lahars, landslides, lava flows, tsunamis, pyroclastic flows and tephra. Many different volcanic hazards endanger the lives of Japanese and American citizens. After students are able to identify the volcanic processes they then identify which pose hazards locally. Students will prepare a brochure to educate the public on hazards of their local mountain and how to mitigate danger.
Grade Level:
6 - 9
Objectives: Students will:
  • Recognize the scope of geologic processes that occur at Cascade volcanoes.
  • Describe volcanic processes.
  • Identify a variety of volcanic hazards and appropriate responses.
  • Communicate geologic processes to the public to raise their awareness of potential hazards.
Lesson Plan:
Volcanic Processes - word, 49KB
Volcanic Processes - pdf, 561KB
Resources: Volcanic Processes Powerpoint
Volcanic Hazards Update Powerpoint
Volcanic Processes Rubric
Volcanic Processes Hazard Maps
Common Volcanic Processes at Cascade Volcanoes
Student Handout - Volcanic Processes Definition Guide
Student Handout - Process Brochure

Did You Know?

Winter snow buries the lower floors of the Paradise Inn.

At Mount Rainier, winter snowfall is typically heaviest between the elevations of 5,000 and 8,000 feet. Paradise, at 5,420 feet, receives an average of 641 inches of snowfall (nearly 54 feet) every year, making it one of the consistently snowiest places on Earth of those where snowfall is measured.