Mt. Baker, the third-highest peak in Washington State, dominates the skyline in Abbotsford, B.C., which is on the Canada-U.S. border. (File Photo/Abbotsford News)

Mt. Baker, the third-highest peak in Washington State, dominates the skyline in Abbotsford, B.C., which is on the Canada-U.S. border. (File Photo/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford: Will this volcano blow its top?

A U.S. mountain 500,000 years old dominates the Abbotsford skyline

Abbotsford, the fifth largest city in British Columbia, is surrounded by mountains, rivers and farms.

Bordered by the mighty Fraser River and, to the south, the U.S.-Canada border its most prominent landmark is Mount Baker, the second-most active volcano in nearby Washington state.

The beautiful ice-clad mountain is 3,285 metres high, and it has blown its top a few times throughout its 500,000 year history.

For example, an eruption in 1843 resulted in a fish kill, forest fire and dusting of volcanic ash.

It’s had a number of names over the years, from local First Nations to early Spanish explorers, but its current appellation — Baker — comes from a naval officer who spotted the mountain while voyaging in 1792 as part of Captain George Vancouver’s crew on the famous British ship, the Discovery.

His name was Joseph Baker, but it wasn’t much of a discovery: On a clear day, Mount Baker’s peak can be seen from much of southwest British Columbia, particularly from the ocean.

So, what is the likelihood of Mount Baker blowing its top? Well, experts have noted volcanic activity throughout the years, particularly since 1975. But they advise that there’ll be plenty of warning before an eruption through earthquakes, venting and other signs.

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