Which volcano is the safest on the Antarctic?
It’s not easy being the only one who doesn’t know which is the best place to visit.
With a population of just over 300,000, the Antarctic is the largest continent on earth and is home to more than 1,200 volcanoes.
But as the world’s largest continent, it also has one of the world, most deadly volcanoes, the Mount St Helens volcano in Washington State.
It has a total surface area of just under 1.2 million square kilometres, and the crater has been erupting for over 50 years.
The volcano is so big that it can be dangerous to visit during the winter months, but with the exception of a handful of small eruptions, it is considered one of Washington’s most popular destinations.
“The Mount St. Helens has been one of my favorite destinations,” says David Goulston, an instructor in environmental science at the University of Washington and one of many tourists visiting the volcano in 2017.
“The people who come to visit it tend to be the same people who are most interested in the history and the culture of the region.
It’s just really exciting.”
In 2016, the volcano erupted twice, sending ash and lava falling on several people, including a tourist who was hit by debris from the first eruption.
That same year, the US Geological Survey reported that Mount St Helen was one of only four volcanoes in the US to have an average yearly ash accumulation of more than 500 tonnes per square metre.
The latest eruption was just the latest in a string of recent eruptions.
In October, an earthquake in Iceland triggered a series of large eruptions in the area, sending tens of thousands of tonnes of ash and volcanic material into the air and forcing residents of Iceland’s Reykjavik to evacuate.
“There’s a lot of activity on the volcano, and that’s a good thing,” says Michael Auerbach, a professor of volcanology at the USGS.
“If you see that a volcano is erupting, you might not be able to go out in the field.”
Despite the hazards, the number of visitors to the Mount Saint Helens is on the rise.
The number of tourists visiting is growing, too.
In 2017, a record 3.4 million people visited the volcano.
“We have been able to grow our tourism industry because the tourism industry is such a strong economic driver in the region,” says Auerbaums.
“We’re very happy with the trend of growth we’ve seen.”
Despite its volcanoes and tourists, Mount StHelens remains a remote location.
The volcano is located about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the city of Seattle, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Canadian border.
“If you were to walk a bit west on Highway 101 and turn right, you’d see Mount St-Helens in the distance,” says Goulton.
“That’s really good to see.”
“The people coming here tend to come from a number of different countries,” says Boulanger.
“They come for the weather, they come for food, they’re coming because it’s one of their favourite places in the world.”
There’s just so much to see here.”