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Old 09-27-2004, 12:00 PM   #1
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Volcanic Unrest in Mount St. Helens Crater

15 minutes ago Add Science - AP to My Yahoo!


By MELANTHIA MITCHELL, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE - Seismologists believe there'* an increased likelihood of a hazardous event at Mount St. Helens due to a strengthening series of earthquakes at the volcano.


AP Photo



"The key issue is a small explosion without warning. That would be the major event that we're worried about right now," said Willie Scott, a geologist with the USGS (news - web sites) office in Vancouver.


Initially, hundreds of tiny earthquakes that began Thursday morning had slowly declined through Saturday. By Sunday, however, there had been more than 10 temblors of magnitude 2.0 to 2.8, the most in a 24-hour period since the last dome-building eruption in October 1986, Scott said.


The quakes have occurred at depths less than one mile below the lava dome within the mountain'* crater. Some of the earthquakes suggest the involvement of pressurized fluids, such as water or steam, and perhaps magma.


Mount St. Helens is about 55 miles northeast of Portland, Ore.


A group of scientists planned to visit the mountain Monday and conduct a flyover to test for carbon dioxide and sulfur gases, which could suggest the involvement of magma. They'll also erect additional seismic sensors and sophisticated global positioning devices to measure activity.


In the event of an explosion, Scott said the concern would be focused on the area within the crater and the flanks of the volcano. It'* possible that a five-mile area primarily north of the volcano could receive flows of mud and rock debris.


That portion of the mountain blew out during the May 18, 1980, eruption that left 57 people dead, devastating hundreds of square miles around the peak and spewing ash over much of the Northwest.


"We haven't had a swarm of earthquakes at Mount St. Helens since 2001," state seismologist Tony Qamar said. "Clearly something new is happening."


Qamar said if an eruption did occur it would possibly involve ash and steam, called phreatic eruptions.


The cause and outcome of the swarm were uncertain Sunday evening.


"There'* been no explosions, there'* no outward sign that anything is occurring. This is all based on the pattern of earthquake activity that is occurring below the dome," said Scott.


Experts believe there is "an increased probability of explosions from the lava dome if the level of current unrest continues or escalates," USGS and the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network in Seattle said in a joint statement.


A similar swarm of quakes in November 2001 and another in the summer of 1998 did not result in an eruption. However, the quakes could increase the likelihood of small rock slides from the 876-foot-tall lava dome within the mountain'* crater.


In the 1986 eruption, magma reached the surface and added to the pile of lava on the crater floor.


___

(when Mt. St. Helens blew the last time, I was still living in CA. We had 1/4" of volcanic ash on everything. I live a bit closer now)
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Old 09-27-2004, 02:26 PM   #2
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When i was living in Idaho, we went out there once after visiting our relatives who live accross the river from portland.

That place is FREAKY.... The trees, the landscape etc..
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Old 09-27-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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It'* all pretty much recovered now as far as the landscape is concerned. Quite a remarkable change.
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Old 09-27-2004, 02:31 PM   #4
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Yes but when you look at before and after pix... And the pix with nothing living....
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Old 09-27-2004, 03:30 PM   #5
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What is up with the USA and all the storms and now this.
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Old 09-27-2004, 03:58 PM   #6
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After the blast:


One year later:


Three years later (1987):


I'd call that pretty remarkable recovery. Imagine what it looks like 17 years later.
You have to keep in mind that 50% of the devastated area was desert BEFORE the eruption.
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:04 PM   #7
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Yeah I've been keeping somewhat a close eye on this bit of news
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:28 PM   #8
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Using this as a guide:
http://mapmachine.nationalgeographic...ap&themeId=113

I generated the following distances from the show (closest to farthest) as the crow (or ash) flies:

Justind23 (Lincoln City, OR) 54 miles
willwren (Corvallis, OR) 91 miles
DrJay (Ft. Lewis, WA) 105 miles
driverjohn2005 (Bonney Lake, WA) 103 miles
Zach Odom (Seattle, WA) 124 miles
busmaster007 (Seattle, WA) 124 miles

Sorry if I left anyone out Fill it in if I missed you.
Kennlee......where the hell is Sedro-Wooley? Mapquest can't find it.
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:33 PM   #9
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Ahhh I'm too close! haha

Sedro Wully (sp?) is like 78490247miles north of me I think
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Old 09-27-2004, 10:40 PM   #10
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2 quakes a minute now:

Quote:
(AP) - Small earthquakes rattled Mount St. Helens at the rate of one or two a minute Monday, and seismologists were working to determine the significance of some of the most intense seismic activity in nearly 20 years. Carbon dioxide and sulfur gas samples collected above the volcano -- which erupted to devastating effect in 1980 -- will help scientists figure out what is going on beneath the 925-foot-high dome of hardened lava within the mountain'* gaping crater.
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