New Feature Column in Eos: Climbing the Occasionally Cataclysmic Cascades

On the summit of Mount Saint Helens with “The Breach” and Mount Rainier in the background.

I’ve been writing a lot for Eos magazine and last fall, I talked my editors into starting a new feature column called Living in Geologic Time, “a series of personal accounts that highlight the past, present, and future of famous landmarks on geologic timescales.

The first installment, on the past, present and future of the Grand Canyon: Will Earth’s Grandest Canyon Keep Getting Grander? was published in November. The story was based on my experience on a 20-day rafting trip on the Colorado that I took in September and October, as well as discussions with USGS geologists about the future of the Grand Canyon.

The second installment—Climbing the Occasionally Cataclysmic Cascades—is out today:

So far, I’ve stood on top of about half of the major high points of the Cascades, and I intend to keep climbing. This spring I’m aiming to ski Mount Shasta! After all, there’s no telling how long the Cascade volcanoes will be gracious hosts. “The eight volcanoes that are considered to be the highest threat have all erupted in the [past] 7,000 years, and we would expect them all to erupt again within that kind of time frame,” says Cascades Volcano Observatory researcher Seth Moran.

The author stands on South Sister (3,158 meters), the tallest and youngest of the Three Sisters volcanoes in central Oregon. From the summit, Middle Sister, North Sister, and Mount Washington appear in a line to the north, with Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood also visible on clear days. 

Stay tuned for the next installment in April! Any guesses where it might be? Any requests for future columns?

Miss EARTH magazine? Me too! RIP. I’ve been writing for Eos since EARTH shuttered last winter. Here are link to some of my recent Eos stories on the Fluid Pressure Changes Grease Cascadia’s Slow Aseismic Earthquakes and Tracking the Grand Canyon’s Mysterious Springs. You can also search for Mary Caperton Morton at to see all my stories from 2019 to the present. Thanks for reading!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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9 Responses to New Feature Column in Eos: Climbing the Occasionally Cataclysmic Cascades

  1. Pit says:

    So good to hear/read from you again! 🙂

    • Thanks Pit! I’m still here, doing my thing: hiking and writing! You are right, this poor neglected blog is overdue for an update! I’ll work on that. But right now it’s sunny here in the beautiful southern Sierras and I’m going hiking! 🙂

      • Pit says:

        Go hiking! The blog can wait! 🙂
        Thanks, btw, for the link to your article on the Grand Canyon. My wife and I were there last September, she in a wheelchair at that time, unfortunately. That’s why we are really planning to go back, hopefully this autumn.

  2. Steven Joly says:

    I’m glad to know that your out and about and using your voice to inform us about what we all need to know more about. I look forward to reading Eos. I for one would like to about Lake Missoula’s breaches and their results upon the Columbia basin.

  3. gaucho8782 says:

    Hello, great to see you posting on blonde coyote again. How is Dio ? I love the story about how you found him

    • Dio’s great. Aging like a fine wine… he still goes on most of my hikes. We just went for an all day hike up Blue Mountain, in the foothills of the Sierras. Probably 8 miles round trip, up about 3,000 feet of elevation. Not bad for an almost octogenarian… he’ll be 12 this summer.

  4. Andy says:

    It seems a long time since I’ve read a post from you. I seem to recall telling you about my kids’ reactions to a tarantula . . . and maybe dinosaur footprints? Sketchy memory!

  5. ritaroberts says:

    Hi Mary, so good to hear of your travels again and am so pleased Dio is good and healthy to go with you. I shall look forward to more posts especially your travels to the Grand Canyon, a place I have always wanted to see for myself. Take care and enjoy your very exciting life.

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