State geology officials say that an earthquake on Mt. Hood provides a more significant risk to the region than a volcanic eruption.
Geologists say they used state-of-the-art LIDAR data to map what's happening underground on Mt. Hood -- and what it could mean for people in the area. The study found that a significant volcanic eruption would cause up to a billion and a half dollars worth of damage and affect close to four-thousand people. That pales next to the damage from a 500-year earthquake: $9 billion in damage, affecting more than 60,000 people.
The agency's chief scientist, Ian Madin, explains that volcanic debris would likely stick to the local river drainages.
Madin said, "Those valleys – the Sandy, Hood River – are really kind of down in deep canyons, and that's where the mud flow goes, and nobody lives down there, whereas the earthquake sort of affects this entire area."
The study also looked at risks posed by major floods, shifting river channels, and landslides.
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Study details, map