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BEND, OR -- Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed by the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano and its massive lava flow; and with volcanoes surrounding Bend, some residents wonder whether something similar could happen here. 

 

Volcanologist and University of Oregon Adjunct Earth Sciences Instructor Daniele McKay says our region is in a volcano danger zone, "There are volcanic areas here in Central Oregon that are very similar to Hawaii. And then, there are volcanoes that erupt quite differently. We have that type of volcano that can produce that kind of eruption, and we also have volcanoes that would produce eruptions that are much more explosive; that would produce a lot more ash."
 
She says so much of Bend's unique beauty and topography are the result of a volcanic past, and that could mean more activity is possible. "Newberry volcano has produced lava flows that have traveled quite far in the past, and that's an indication that it could do that again in the future," says McKay, "And then there are also lava flows that have come from the Cascades - from higher up in the Cascades. In Bend, in particular, we're sitting within the volcanic hazard zones of multiple volcanoes."
 
McKay tells KBND News, "Here in Central Oregon, if something like that were to happen, we would have a couple of other potential hazards that typically people in Hawaii don't have to deal with, and one is forest fires. We also have rivers and streams that, in the past, have been dammed by lava flows, and so they could dam the Deschutes River." 
 
There are approximately 19 prominent volcanoes in the state of Oregon, but there are many smaller ones, as well. Those that ring Central Oregon are monitored by Cascade Volcano Observatory seismometers and scientists, and McKay says residents would receive warning of volcanic activity. She recommends having an emergency pack ready to go, just in case.
 
Photo: Kilauea Volcanic Lava Flow, May 5, 2018; courtesy USGS Volcanoes 

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