Sunday, July 06, 2008

Natural Fireworks Continue at National Parks Volcanoes

(ARA) – Fourth of July fireworks are already fading, but you can still enjoy a different kind of light show this summer. Throughout America’s National Park System, volcanoes are putting on a natural fireworks display, according to the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).

Nearly 40 national parks throughout the National Park System boast a volcanic history or theme. Parks protect a wide variety of volcanic landscapes, ranging from the largest volcano in the world at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, to the smaller but equally beautiful Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in Arizona.

“The National Park System preserves many of our country’s magnificent volcanoes, both active and dormant,” says Ron Tipton, NPCA senior vice president of programs. “The protection of these inspirational national parks enables our children and grandchildren to witness them in the same condition we were able to.”

National parks offer a safe and educational environment for viewing some of the most awe-inspiring natural features our country has to offer, including active volcanoes. For instance:

* California's Lassen Peak first erupted in 1914, and continued sporadically for the next seven years. The peak is the southernmost volcano in the Cascade chain, which stretches into Canada. In 1916 the federal government officially established Lassen Volcanic National Park. Today, visitors can find numerous bubbling hydrothermal areas throughout the park, along with a rich diversity of plant and animal life. For more information go to

*Mount Rainier in Washington is the highest peak in the Cascade Range at 14,410 feet. An active volcano, Rainier could one day threaten the surrounding Seattle region. Rainier is considered a stratovolcano, composed of many layers of hardened lava, ash and debris from explosive eruptions. Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899. Today, the park is known for its bicycling, hiking, and climbing opportunities. For more information, go to

* In Alaska, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve features two active stratovolcanoes - Iliamna and Redoubt. The last eruption of Mount Redoubt, between 1989 and 1990, was extremely devastating and costly. It significantly affected both the aviation and oil industries, as well as some individuals’ health, demonstrating just how hazardous these majestic mountains can be. Both volcanoes are thought to be close to 1 million years old. Today, the best way to view the volcanoes is by airplane. In addition, Lake Clark offers numerous hiking and boating opportunities for visitors. For more information on the park, go to

* Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916 to study and protect the impressive volcanic features of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa is the largest volcano in the world, and Kilauea is one of the most active. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983, except for several short pauses. Hundreds of lava tubes, steam vents, sea arches, cracks and caves exist throughout the park, as well as active craters and calderas. Most are accessible by trails, which offer stunning views for park visitors. For more information on visiting the park, go to

In a new assessment of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks noted damage to historic park structures as a result of seismic activity. In addition, the park periodically experiences closures due to high levels of sulfur dioxide, which can be dangerous to visitors. This spring, the park was closed for a period of time. Although the park has reopened to visitors, NPCA recommends travelers first check the park’s Web site at or contact the National Park Service for information regarding closures.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

No comments: