So-called “dormant” B.C volcano beginning to show activity

Mount Meager

Mount Meager is considered an inactive volcano, but this summer, it has shown a few minor signs of waking up. Volcanic openings known as fumaroles have been observed on the volcano, which is located north of Pemberton, B.C., and the smell of sulphur has also been emanating from the mountain.

Volcanologist Melanie Kelman told the CBC that the volcano is not considered dangerous, and that fumaroles are not unusual, but are probably the result of thinning ice. However, she said that approaching them is not advisable, as they are letting off the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide.

The volcano’s activity has prompted Kelman and her colleagues at National Resources Canada to monitor the situation for signs of further activity. “The main thing we would expect if the volcano was becoming more active is lots and lots of small earthquakes,” she said, noting that so far that has not happened.

While the volcano is not currently considered a danger, Kelman did note that an eruption isn’t out of the question in the future. “With Mount Meager, we don’t know. It may erupt 10 years from now, 50 years from now, or 3,000 years from now,” she told the CBC. However, she said that scientists do not believe an eruption is imminent.

Mount Meager was actually responsible for the most recent large volcanic eruption in Canada, but that was still around 2,500 years ago. Public Safety Canada’s website says that the greatest current volcano risk to Canada is from volcanoes in neighbouring Washington and Alaska, which could lead to ash fallout here if they were to erupt.