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Family Portrait - Mount Shasta And Shastina Northern California
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Permanently snowcapped Mt. Shasta, 14,162 feet (4,317 m), with all its grandeur towering high in the blue sky, stands alone and massive in size, isolating itself from the rugged peaks that surround it like a lonely pyramid in the desert. The stratum volcano is the second highest but perhaps the most magnificent of the volcanic peaks that form the Cascade Range, a line of isolated mountains that stretch from Lassen Peak northwards all the way to the Canadian border.
The old-growth incense cedar forests that once covered Mount Shasta disappeared for the most mundane of causes. The wood was so popular that as recently as the 1970s, half the wood pencils in the world were made from it.
However, Mount Shasta's seven glaciers, referred to by American Indians as the footsteps made by the creator when he descended to Earth, are the only historical glaciers in the continental U.S. known to be growing. With global warming causing the retreat of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere in the Cascades, Mt. Shasta is actually benefiting from changing weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean. But without global warming, another threat to Shasta's glaciers could come more quickly: a volcanic eruption that could melt them. Over the last 4,000 years, Shasta has erupted about every 250 to 300 years and did so most recently about 200 years ago.
March 29th, 2011
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