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Much of central and eastern Washington and Oregon is buried by the “flood basalts” from the head of the Yellowstone hotspot.

As the continent has moved across the hot spot after it reached the surface, a string of volcanoes erupted including Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.

) be the new, volcanically active “big island” while the volcanoes of the current big island die and the island slowly erodes away.

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On the morning of May 18, 1980, Professor Voight’s prediction came frighteningly, awesomely true. A large earthquake either caused, or was caused by, failure of the north side of the mountain in a giant landslide.

Like pulling the cap off a hot, well-shaken soda bottle, the liquid beneath flashed into froth, driving an eruption 12 miles (20 km) high.

(Professor Alley and his wife Cindy were driving in Alberta, Canada during the summer of 1980, on a great, seven-week, see-the-national-parks-in-a-Chevette-with-a-tent honeymoon. Among these dead trees, however, salmonberry and fireweed and young firs are pushing skyward, elk are grazing, and coyotes search for rodents.

In some places, salvage-logging of the downed trees was allowed.

Then as the lithosphere carries that volcano away, the hot spot punches through a new place to make a new volcano.

Rising melt behaves a little bit like people driving cars, who use one road or the other but not the lawn in-between; hot spots often make a string of separate volcanoes rather than a continuous line or ridge, by coming up through one hole in the lithosphere for a while and then switching to a different one.

When a new hot-spot first rises from below, the top must push through the mantle and crust, and the resistance of the stuff in the way of the rising column causes its top to spread out like the head of a thunderhead, or of a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb, or of a blob in a lava lamp, and for the same reasons.

When that wide head reaches the surface, immense lava flows can be produced that spread across state-sized areas and bury them hundreds of feet deep.

A shock wave knocked over full-grown trees in an area 20 x 10 miles (32 x 16 km).

The landslide eventually poured more than 100 million cubic yards of rock material down the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers, raising the floor of the North Fork of the Toutle as much as 600 feet (200 m), and sweeping roads and houses downstream, with the debris reaching and clogging the shipping channels of the Columbia River.

Deep in the warm, soft, convecting mantle of the planet, in some places a rising tower of hot rock forms and then lasts for quite a while.

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