Three Are Considered The Most Dangerous In America

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a list in 2018 of the most dangerous volcanoes in the country, ranked according to how much of a threat they pose.

This list was the first time the ranking was updated since 2005 and in the top 18 wasn’t just one California volcano, but three.


On the list you can see that each volcano on the list gets two scores: an overall threat score and an aviation threat score.

Hawaii’s Kilauea topped the list as the most dangerous volcano in the country, but several California hot spots were not far behind.

The three California spots that made the top 18—the section that contains “very high threat” volcanoes—were Mount Shasta, Lassen volcanic center, and Long Valley Caldera.

Mount Shasta was ranked as the most dangerous of all California volcanoes, ranking as fifth overall.


The volcanos’ two scores are based on several factors that the USGS took into consideration when compiling the list.

The overall threat score looks specifically at 24 different factors, like how often it erupts, nearby population size, and how powerful its eruptions are.

Alternatively, the aviation threat score specifically focuses on flight-centric factors, like how close the volcano is to an airport and what flight paths are nearby.

Although looking at these numbers can be scary, it’s important to remember that there are typically warning signs of a volcano explosion beforehand and there are always scientists on the lookout for them.

The last time California experienced a volcanic eruption was when Mount Lassen started pouring volcanic debris between 1914 and 1917, sending volcanic ash as far away as Elko, Nevada.

Today, more than 190,000 Californians live within a volcano hazard zone, like the town of Weed beneath Mount Shasta and Mammoth Lakes in the Long Valley region.

There have only been four volcanic eruptions in the United States since the country’s founding, but TWO of them were here in Northern California-Lassen Peak in 1914 and Mount Shasta in possibly 1786.

The other two were Oregon’s Mount Hood in the mid-1800s and Washington’s Mount St. Helen’s with several eruptions over the past 300 years.