Tags: mount st helens | ready | erupt | again

Mount St. Helens 'Getting Ready to Erupt Again,' Geologist Says

By    |   Monday, 29 Sep 2014 03:40 PM

Today, Mount St. Helens is closely monitored after it rumbled and roared to life in 2004, drawing attention to the volcano for the first time since it erupted 18 years before.

The U.S. Geological Survey is using the anniversary of Washington’s most notorious volcano to talk about changes to monitoring technology that have occurred since Mount St. Helens’ last eruption in 2008, The Associated Press said.

In its most recent eruption history, the volcano erupted 20 times from May 1980 through 1986. Then it started again in 2004 and continued into 2008, when climbers were allowed to start trekking to the summit again.

The volcano’s dome continually changes shape, even though eruptions have stopped, USGS geologist Dan Dzurisin told the AP.

"As it cools, it fractures and settles and falls apart," he said, and added that falling rock has also changed Mount St. Helens’ shape.

Researchers are watching technology to determine if the volcano may be preparing to erupt again, Dzurisin said, explaining that there are signs the magma chamber is “recharging.”

Although the 2004 eruptions were not a surprise, USGS decided to up its game afterward to include better monitoring options.

The organization was pushed to “get creative about how to get instruments in close,” USGS seismologist Seth Moran told the AP. GPS receivers now monitor extremely small changes in the volcano’s activity.

“We know that Mount St. Helens is the volcano in the Cascades most likely to erupt again in our lifetimes,” the USGS website said. “Thus, it is likely that the types, frequencies, and magnitudes of past activity will be repeated in the future. However, neither a large debris avalanche nor a major lateral blast like those of May 18, 1980, is likely now that a deep crater has formed.”

Even though a big event, like the one in 1980, isn’t predicted, Moran told the AP that, "It looks like Mount St. Helens is getting ready to erupt again and it can happen in the order of years to decades."

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Today, Mount St. Helens is closely monitored after it rumbled and roared to life in 2004, drawing attention to the volcano for the first time since it erupted 18 years before.
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Monday, 29 Sep 2014 03:40 PM
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