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Wilderness research sparks controversy: Short Wave: NPR

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Glacier Peak is a 3,214 meter (10,544 ft) volcano located in the North Cascades, Washington State. This summer, the United States Forest Service (USFS) approved a request from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to add four additional seismometers to Glacier Peak. Scientists are currently monitoring volcanic activity with a seismometer.

United States Geological Survey


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United States Geological Survey


Glacier Peak is a 3,214 meter (10,544 ft) volcano located in the North Cascades, Washington State. This summer, the United States Forest Service (USFS) approved a request from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to add four additional seismometers to Glacier Peak. Scientists are currently monitoring volcanic activity with a seismometer.

United States Geological Survey

There are 161 potentially active volcanoes in the United States, according to the United States Geological Survey. Most of the time they seem quiet – punctuated by a few very loud eruptions. But these volcanoes “talk” to us all the time. Scientists say the sooner we learn to interpret their normal chatter, the sooner we’ll know when they’re telling us something unusual and potentially dangerous.

One way to “listen” to this volcano is to use seismic monitors, which measure the Earth’s dynamic shiver under and around volcanoes. This usually requires setting up seismic stations in remote locations – in the United States, often on protected land. This can sometimes bring researchers into conflict with some conservationists.

Every Friday this summer Short wave publishes a series of stories about science in public lands. Today’s episode is the standoff over one particular sleeping giant in the Pacific Northwest: Glacier Peak.

There are five active volcanoes in Washington State. Of the five, Glacier Peak is the farthest.

United States Geological Survey


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United States Geological Survey


There are five active volcanoes in Washington State. Of the five, Glacier Peak is the farthest.

United States Geological Survey

As we continue our road trip visiting science happening on public lands, we also want to know where you are in the world, especially if you are in a national park! To be featured in an episode, send us a recording showing your name, location and “You’re listening to Short Wave – from NPR”. Our email is [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

This episode was produced by Berly McCoy and edited by Rebecca Ramirez. Rachel Carlson checked the facts. Natasha Branch was the sound engineer.