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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Geohazards

 
van-trump-debris-flow

In August 2001, warm temperatures increased melting of the Kautz Glacier. The meltwater saturated loose glacial debris resulting in a small debris flow along Van Trump Creeks. Mud and debris covered trees and trails.

Be Geohazard Aware!
Recent research has improved our understanding of Mount Rainier, an active volcano. Active steam vents, periodic earth tremors, and reported historical eruptions provide evidence that Mount Rainier is sleeping, not dead. Seismic monitoring stations around the mountain should provide days or weeks of advance warning of impending eruptions. However, other geologic hazards like debris flows and rockfall can occur with little warning.

Detailed geohazard information is available at park visitor centers and from scientists at the U.S.G.S. Cascades Volcano Observatory.

The more time you spend in an area where there are geologic hazards, the greater the chances that you could be involved in an emergency event. While most people consider the danger to be relatively low, you must decide if you will assume the personal risk of visiting these potentially dangerous locations. When you arrive in the park, be sure to review posted geologic hazard, evacuation and escape information.

Longmire and the campgrounds at Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, White River, Ipsut Creek, and Sunshine Point are all vulnerable to geologic hazards. Rising water level, shaking ground and a rumbling noise may signal a debris flow or lahar. If you are near a river and notice a rapid rise in water level, feel a prolonged shaking of the ground, and/or hear a roaring sound coming from up valley – often described as the sound made by a fast–moving freight train – move quickly to higher ground! A location 160 feet or more above river level should be safe.

Geohazard Warning Sirens
Geohazard sirens are located at high visitor concentration locations along the Nisqually river including Cougar Rock Campground, Longmire, and Nisqually Entrance. If you hear the siren during your visit, head uphill, away from rivers.

Listen to the Geohazard Siren.

Did You Know?

Visitor exploring the former Paradise Ice Caves.

For many years, the Paradise Ice Caves were a popular attraction at Mount Rainier. Until the 1980s, visitors could explore passages within the Paradise Glacier which had formed due to seasonal melting of the ice. By the early 1990s, climate change had melted away the last traces of the caves. More...