Stratovolcanoes, also referred to as composite volcanoes, are constructed of sequential layers of resistant lava flows and fragmental material produced by pyroclastic eruptions. An aerial view of the glacially dissected SW flank of Mount Rainier shows the layered interior of a stratovolcano. Snow cover, which preferentially clings to less-steep layers of fragmental material, accentuates the stratified character of this composite volcano.
New housing is under construction on a mudflow deposit that originated from Mount Rainier, partially obscured by clouds in the center background. The tree stump in the foreground, left for landscaping purposes at the entrance to the housing development, was buried by the Electron mudflow about 500 years ago.