dante’s peak volcano location

dante's peak volcano location

dante’s peak volcano location

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Dante’s Peak

Dante’s Peak is a 1997 American disaster thriller film directed by Roger Donaldson, written by Leslie Bohem, and starring Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, and Charles Hallahan. The film is set in the fictional town of Dante’s Peak where the inhabitants fight to survive a volcanic eruption from a long dormant stratovolcano that has suddenly woken up. The film was released on February 7, 1997, under the production of Universal Pictures and Pacific Western Productions. It received negative reviews from critics and became a box-office bomb, despite this, it has since gained a cult following among disaster film aficionados. Dante’s Peak was the last film Charles Hallahan starred in before his passing nine months later in November 1997.

It is the third film collaboration between Gale Anne Hurd and Hamilton, who both previously worked in the first two Terminator films.


USGS volcanologist Harry Dalton and his partner-turned-fiancée Marianne attempt to escape an ongoing eruption in Colombia. As they venture out, a piece of debris pierces through the roof of the truck, killing Marianne.

dante's peak volcano location
dante’s peak volcano location

Four years later, Harry is assigned by his superior Dr. Paul Dreyfus to investigate seismic activity near the town of Dante’s Peak, Washington, a town that borders a dormant stratovolcano. Harry arrives and meets with Mayor Rachel Wando along with her children Graham and Lauren. Rachel offers to take Harry with them as they see her former mother-in-law Ruth, an elderly hermit who lives near the lake at the base of the volcano. While exploring, they find dead trees, dead squirrels, and two people scalded to death in a hot spring. Harry instructs Paul to bring a USGS team to monitor the volcano, but their initial survey finds no indications of volcanic activity. Paul advises against Harry putting the town on false alarm. Still, Harry tries to convince Rachel to prepare for a disaster, while developing a relationship with her and the children.

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One day, Harry and his co-worker Terry examine the summit’s crater until a rock slide traps Terry, causing him to suffer a broken leg. Both men are rescued by a helicopter, whose pilot is quite greedy. Days go by showing no signs of any threat or activity. Paul decides that no danger is imminent and the USGS team begins preparing to leave. When Harry goes to say goodbye to Rachel, they discover that the town’s water supply has been contaminated with sulfur dioxide. The next morning, seismic readings and gas levels rise dramatically. Finally convinced that the volcano will erupt, and with the National Guard unavailable until the next day, Paul gives Harry permission to put the town on alert.

As a town meeting takes place at the high school, an earthquake strikes, and the eruption begins. Harry and Rachel go to retrieve the children, only to discover that they have gone to get Ruth, who refused to leave her home. Just as they reach Ruth and the children, a lava flow engulfs Ruth’s cabin and destroys the vehicles both parties used to get there. The five flee across the lake in a motorboat, but the lake has become acidic due to sulfur-rich gases emitted from the volcano, destroying the motor and eating away at the boat. Ruth jumps out of the boat to help it to shore, suffering severe chemical burns and eventually dying. Harry and the Wandos take a Forest Service ranger’s truck to continue down the mountain, and save Ruth’s dog Roughy as they cross a lava flow in their path.

National Guard

Meanwhile, the National Guard helps the USGS team evacuate. As they leave, a lahar created by the melting glacier breaks the upstream dam. While the rest of the team makes it across, Paul and their van fails to clear the bridge before it is washed away by the flood, throwing Paul overboard to his death. Harry and the Wandos arrive at the remains of the town. Harry retrieves a distress radiobeacon from the USGS equipment and learns that the volcano is due for one last eruption. Moments later, The volcano violently rips itself apart in a massive lateral blast, triggering a pyroclastic flow which obliterates everything in its path within seconds.

With no way out of town, Harry and the Wandos reach a mine, where Graham had hidden earlier. The USGS team, watching the eruption from afar, presume Harry to be dead. Inside the mine, Harry realizes that he left the beacon in the truck. When he goes back for it, aftershocks cause rocks and debris to fall. Harry suffers a broken arm and is trapped in the truck, but is able to activate the beacon.

Where Was Dante’s Peak Filmed?

Dante’s peak was one of the best movies of its time, starring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton.

The locations in this movie are both stunning and terrifying, and the fictional town of Dante’s Peak was actually filmed in Wallace, Idaho.

This is where we get to see the exterior shots of the town, and this is the place where the bulk of the film was made.

Wallace is a city that is located in Idaho, in the Silver Valley mining district of the Idaho Panhandle.

The scenery is something really special to look at, and it made the perfect filming location for Dante’s Peak. Dante’s Peak itself was digitally edited, along with some of the surrounding mountains.

Interestingly, for some of the establishing shots, they had to use Mount St Helens in Washington.

When the viewer sees the destroyed version of Dante’s Peak near the end of the movie, the camera shows a wider scene of the disaster and what is left of the crater.

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dante's peak volcano location
dante’s peak volcano location


The footage used here is actually taken from an image of Mount St Helens that was found from news footage shortly after it erupted in 1980.

Near the beginning of the movie, we are shown the dangerous hot springs that start the series of events that lead up to the volcano eruption.

These hot springs are real and can be located at Baker Palm Springs in Washington. Filming for these scenes took place in Mt. Baker National Forest.

The filming of this movie took place in a variety of other locations throughout Washington and California in order to create the amazing visuals that made it into the film.

Most of it was actually shot on location, unlike some other films that stick to sets, and this only adds realism to the movie. However, some of the dramatic and destructive shots of the town were digitally edited to add effect.

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And best picture goes to…’Dante’s Peak’

Our favorite cult geologist movie is “Dante’s Peak,” released in 1997. It is a good representation of the last few decades of disaster movies, and it is arguably the best and most realistic geologist movie to date.

In the film, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist Harry Dalton, played by Pierce Brosnan, is sent to the small town of Dante’s Peak in the northern Cascade Range of Washington state to investigate reports of increasing activity by the possibly awakening volcano. Among other risks, an eruption would threaten the little town’s developing tourism industry. After identifying seismic signals indicating an impending eruption, our hero is trapped by the moral dilemma of either giving early warning to the town, or threatening its livelihood by crying “wolf.”


This part of the plot realistically echoes events that occurred at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., in the early 1980s, when increased seismic activity, the formation of new steam vents, and bulges in the caldera indicated a potential volcanic reawakening. The USGS considered issuing the town of Mammoth Lakes a warning, which was prematurely reported by the L.A. Times shortly before Memorial Day 1982. Tourism was affected, but no eruption occurred, raising the ire of residents and business owners. And causing a real-world public communications fiasco that is referred to in the film.

“Dante’s Peak” depicts the geologists clad in plaid flannel shirts. Drinking (and talking about) coffee, poring over and photographing rocks, and enjoying beer and whiskey. Although this is a stereotypical portrayal of geoscientists, the volcanological events in the film are mostly represented accurately. Although they are sometimes slightly exaggerated.

dante's peak volcano location
dante’s peak volcano location

That’s a pyroclastic cloud

Individually, the eruptive processes portrayed in the film are all fairly realistic. With precursor steam eruptions and the formation of heated, acidic pools and lakes. The film’s simultaneous eruptions of Hawaiian-type basaltic lava flows and pyroclastic surges. However, are utterly unrealistic and are offered for visual effect more than scientific credibility. “That’s a pyroclastic cloud,” Harry says when the Plinian-style hot-ash plume collapses and thunders down over the hillside. Through the dust, Harry saves the town’s mayor — his newfound love interest, played by Linda Hamilton. And her children by gunning their truck over an incongruous red-hot basaltic lava flow. Another unrealistic aspect of the film, the USGS notes.

The volcanic inspiration for “Dante’s Peak” was the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, which was used as a filming location for some scenes in the movie. “Dante’s Peak” is also strikingly similar to the 1981 movie “St. Helens,” which portrays a slightly dramatized story about the real event.

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