Thanks to Paul Smith for posting about this to the BBTC Listserve.
It looks as if a massive underground chamber may be slowly filling with magma or water, and causing a 100-square mile bulge in western Oregon. Make no mistake about it, this is the same type of process that very slowly forms continental volcanoes, just like the Cascades. The bulge is imperceptible to humans on land and is only growing 1.4 inches per year.
The nearest volcano is South Sister, located just a few miles away, and is believed to have last erupted 2,000 years ago. The nearest major population center is the city of Bend, roughly 25 miles away.
Having studied volcanoes in the classroom and in the field as a geologist, this is the type of thing that gets me giddy with excitement. I was ecstatic when Mount St. Helens came back to life last year -- on my birthday no less -- and the thought of us possibly seeing another tiny volcano come to life during our lifetime is amazing. Of course, the rate of growth will have to really increase for it to amount to anything more than a bump in the landscape by the time I'm 90 years old, but if it does? Wow.
Read the article at CNN here: (http://tinyurl.com/b4ba2)