Inside Look: California’s Sleeping Giants

California is known for earthquakes, but did you know we are also home to eight active volcanoes and more than 500 volcanic vents? Even Californians don’t think of their state as volcano country; Hawaii gets the most attention for that.

Right now,  ash clouds from Kilauea volcano has prompted a red alert on Hawaii’s Big Island. Kilauea began spewing lava through new fissures on May 3rd, and it’s been hell on earth in the Leilani Estates residential subdivision, where molten rock is shooting 100 feet into the air, accompanied by toxic gas and steam bursting through those openings in the ground created by the volcano. The US Geological Survey issued a red alert May 15th, meaning a major eruption is imminent or underway.

So, What is the likelihood of California’s volcanoes? Should we expect a disaster similar to Hawaii’s? In this encore presentation of Inside Look, we talk to the people monitoring California’s volcanoes for answers.




Cal OES Earthquake, Tsunami & Volcano Programs

California Volcanoes

USGS California Volcano Observatory

  • List and map of volcanoes in California
  • Hazards Assessment
  • Activity Updates
  • Monitoring

Educational Information

USGS Volcano Hazards Program

  • Learn about U.S. Volcanoes
  • Resources for Educators
  • Volcano Frequently Asked Questions
  • U.S. Volcano List

 How Volcanoes Work

Site is sponsored by NASA under the auspices of Project ALERT (Augmented Learning Environment and Renewable Teaching).

Fact Sheets & Posters

USGS Volcano Hazards Program Fact Sheets & Posters

Volcano Preparedness

Key Facts about Preparing for a Volcano Eruption

Volcano Eruption Fact Sheet – Available in many languages and large font

FEMA Volcano Preparedness

American Red Cross – Volcano Safety Tips

Volcanic Ash Facts and Guidance

NOAA Volcanic Ash Advisory Center

Volcano Recovery

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Volcanoes

Key Facts about Protecting Yourself after a Volcanic Eruption

Other sites with Volcano information

Seismic Safety Commission – Volcanoes




Clear Lake Volcanic Field

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Coso Volcanic Field

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Lassen Volcanic Center

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Lavic Lake Volcanic Field

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Long Valley Caldera

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Mammoth Mountain

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Medicine Lake

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Mono Lake Volcanic Field

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Mono-Inyo Chain

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Mount Shasta

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Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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