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Northern California Volcano Expert

Chico State Professor of Geology, Rachel Teasdale says the idea that what we are watching is ‘science fiction’ is only part of the story because what we are witnessing is real ‘science.’

Posted: May 22, 2018 8:11 AM
Updated: May 22, 2018 10:59 AM

Chico, Calif. – For the past several weeks the world has been watching the natural disaster unfolding in Hawaii, the Kilauea volcano has erupted. The images coming off the big island are nothing short of dramatic.

Like many who are following the events, we here at Action News Now have been watching and wondering if the North State region would see or feel any impacts from the situation taking place in Hawaii, especially given that the Northern California region is home to two volcanos.

While looking at the scenes in Hawaii, one is reminded that Mother Nature has the power to serve up special effects far beyond the imagination of the best special effects pros in Hollywood.

Chico State Professor of Geology, Rachel Teasdale says the idea that what we are watching is ‘science fiction’ is only part of the story because what we are witnessing is real ‘science.’ She calls at eruption and the resulting lava flows spectacular. As a professional who studies the earth; in her case a Volcanologist, she says anytime there is a volcano erupting, she is watching and learning.

Action News Now recently spoke with Professor Teasdale to learn more about what impacts, if any, our local region could experience.

Professor Teasdale describes the events at Kilauea in a simplified version. She says over the past few weeks, the magma supply in the volcano has been draining out, which manifested as the eruptions we witnessed. She says this is exactly how volcanos should behave.

In regards to the large amount of gas seen coming from the earth, she says it is a very real concern in Hawaii but says such gas dissipates as it gets blown across the Pacific Ocean, so she does not believe there is a cause for concern for residents in California.

We asked her about our two local volcanoes; Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen and whether we should have any concerns.

She said both are monitored regularly by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) as well as by experts at Chico State University. She says recent information indicates all systems are normal. She says the positive aspect of watching Kilauea, is that residents can now be assured that the scientific information being gathered is helping professional better understand volcanos and geological patterns which would indicate an eruption could be imminent. And that, she says, is not the case right now with either local volcanos.

Professor Teasdale says in the unlikely event Mount Lassen were to erupt, she says residents would see something similar to the eruption which happened 100 years ago, in which a large ash columns spewed from the mountain and could be seen for miles.

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