Scientists suggest that climate change is taking a toll on Mount Rainer and its glaciers are melting at six times the historic speed.
Mount Rainer is a stratovolcano that is located near Seattle, Washington. Mount Rainer has not erupted since 1894 but scientists suggest it is an active volcano that can erupt again. Seismic images also indicate that underground magma reservoir is increasing and is about 5 to 10 miles thick.
However, scientists are not very concerned about a volcano eruption, but they are worried about the melting snow that can cause flood and result in as much damage as flowing lava can do.
Scientists explain that glaciers may not melt evenly. Large quantity of water can build inside melting glaciers and they can burst all of a sudden. The flood caused by such outburst can devastate nearby lands and also carry debris, mud and more to other areas they flow.
Outburst floods are not very common but are also not unusual at Mount Rainier, especially when its glaciers are altering at a rapid pace. Previously, floods were recorded at four glaciers on Mount Rainer. Only a few people witnessed the catastrophic flood, which was accompanied with high speed wind and dust clouds. People also experienced violent shaking of the ground, which felt similar to a minor earthquake.
The last flood occurred in November, which forced Mount Rainier National Park officials to temporarily close park access at the Nisqually entrance. The flood damaged roads, plants and animal habitat that came in the way of the flood.
"Every time I drive through that entrance, I feel touched by the legacy," says Susan Dolan, who manages the Cultural Landscapes Program for the National Park Service.
Scientists suggest that a flood outburst may occur at Mount Rainer, but they are unable to predict when. Scientists blame global warming and climate change for the floods that occur due to the melting of ice on Mount Rainer's glaciers.
Some experts suggest that as floods are imminent around the area surrounding Mount Rainer; authorities should plan to move endangered animals and plants elsewhere. Authorities should also decide if they should continue to spend hefty amount of money to rebuild roads that are damaged by the floods.