Sunday, January 26, 2020

Famous Canadian Volcanoes

Mount Meager
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2020 Charlene Brown

Spoiler alert: There are only two famous Canadian volcanoes and this isn’t one of them.

Along with New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and the American states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, we are in the Circum-Pacific belt of earthquake and volcanic activity known as the Ring of Fire.

Although we on the west coast have recently become earthquake-aware, and are (very gradually) becoming earthquake-ready, there is little awareness of the many volcanoes here in British Columbia.

Most, including one of the famous ones, Black Tusk, are extinct. Black Tusk is the upper spire of a stratovolcano, visible in the background of the Whistler Inukshuk postcard painting on the right.

Among the potentially active Canadian volcanoes, the most recent eruption occurred about 150 years ago at Lava Forks in northwestern British Columbia near the Alaska border.  

About 100 years before that, in 1775, an eruption of the Tseax Cone killed almost 2000 of the Nisga’a people.  I wrote about this eruption last year.

I have also painted the other famous Canadian volcano, Mount Garibaldi, which last erupted 8000 years ago.

As for the subject of this week’s painting Mount Meager has the distinction of being the site of the most recent big explosive eruption in British Columbia, about 2350 years ago. And a fumarole field venting steam has recently been revealed by the receding glacier on top of this dormant volcano.