By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – Government scientists are classifying 18 U.S. volcanoes as a “very high threat” because of what’s been happening inside them and how close they are to people.
The U.S. Geological Survey is updating its volcano threat assessments for the first time since 2005. The danger list is topped by Hawaii’s Kilauea, which has been erupting this year. The others in the top five are Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano and California’s Mount Shasta.
The agency says a dozen volcanoes have jumped in threat level since 2005. Twenty others dropped in threat level.
Among those where the threat score is higher are Alaska’s Redoubt, Mount Okmok, Akutan Island and Mount Spurr. Threat scores also rose for Oregon’s Newberry Volcano and Wyoming’s Yellowstone.
There are 161 active U.S. volcanoes.
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