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  #1  
Old 09-30-2004, 06:08 AM
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Default Erupting Earth

Mount St. Helens on Higher Eruption Alert

Wed Sep 29, 4:36 PM ET Top Stories - Reuters

By Reed Stevenson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Mount St. Helens could erupt within days, government scientists said on Wednesday, raising the alert after movement in the volcano's lava crust was detected following a week of small earthquakes.


The volcano last erupted in 1980, killing 57 people and destroying more than 200 homes. Acres of evergreen spruce forest were flattened and ash billowed across North America.


"We think that the likelihood of an eruption has increased," Cynthia Gardner, seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) told reporters. The USGS (news - web sites) raised the alert level for the volcano to its third highest level of a possible explosion. Four indicates an imminent eruption.


"What we're still anticipating is a small to moderate explosion," Gardner said, saying that even a small explosion could send ash into the air that could travel "tens of miles" and obstruct air traffic.


Mount St. Helens is in the southeastern part of Washington state, about 100 miles south of Seattle and 50 miles north of Oregon's largest city, Portland.


Seismologists also said there was a "reasonable probability" that an eruption would not take place, although the U.S. Forest service has closed off the mountain to hikers.


Since last Thursday a swarm of shallow earthquakes, likely caused by hot rock coming into contact with underground water, may have triggered more significant seismic activity involving magma, or molten rock, said Steve Malone, director of the University of Washington's seismology lab.


In the last 24 hours, the lava dome that formed after the previous eruption has moved 1.5 inches, seismologists said, indicating that magma could be moving below the volcano. They added, however, that they had not detected gases indicating heightened magma activity.


A small-scale explosion of the lava dome would most likely spew rocks and muddy debris to the rims of the volcano's crater and down the sides of the mountain.


Seismologists said there was no connection between activity on Mount St. Helens and Tuesday's strong earthquake near Parkfield, California or a smaller series of quakes in Alaska.


The violent eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, blew off the top of the volcano, reducing its summit from 9,677 feet to 8,364 feet.


Since then the lava dome erupted once in October 1986, and strong earthquakes were detected in 1989, when fresh magma entered the volcano's lava system.


Mount St. Helens is considered a stratovolcano, formed by fast-cooling layers of lava that gives it a conical shape. Mt. Rainier in Washington state, Mt. Shasta in California, Mt. Vesuvius in Italy and Mt. Fuji in Japan are all considered typical stratovolcanos.

PICTURES:




VIDEO: Click HERE.

Now I ask you... what do you guys think?
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2004, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

Scary. For the sake of the people who live there, of course I hope not.

But it was awesome, and I have some glass that was made from the last eruption... I'm glad my Gramma isn't here to see this. The hurricanes, and then an impending volcanic eruption would push her right over the edge into apocalypse mode.

I was watching the herons and geese on our pond this morning, thinking when the finally got to FL on migration they were in for a nasty surprise.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2004, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

I guess Mother Earth is pissed! The US is being punded with horrible weather...

In California, there has been a couple EQ's the past couple days. In Washington... Mt. St. Helens is gonna erupt... Flordia has been ravaged by four hurricanes... The Eastern US has been flooded multiple times... And Arizona has been experieninjg extreme heat in the triple digits... Maybe it is a sign? I don't know... I just think that its kinda scary what is happening... but at the same time, I am amazed at what I am seeing... I love weather stuff like this :P
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

Sorry for the double post, but I have an update for this event... as the volcano 'erupted' today.

Quote:
Mount St. Helens Erupts After 18 Years
By DAVID AMMONS, Associated Press Writer

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. - Mount St. Helens, the volcano that blew its top with cataclysmic force in 1980, erupted for the first time in 18 years Friday, belching a huge column of white steam and ash after days of rumblings under the mountain.


The noontime eruption cast a haze across the horizon as the roiling plume rose from the nearly 1,000-foot-tall lava dome, forcing Alaska Airlines to cancel flights and divert others around the ash.


"It was such a thrill!" said Faye Ray, a retired teacher who watched from an observatory near the mountain. "I just felt we would see something today and we did."


Scientists had been predicting just such an eruption for days because of thousands of earthquakes and signs that the rock inside the crater was expanding rapidly.


The eruption was nowhere near what happened 24 years ago, when 57 people were killed and towns up to 250 miles away were showered with rock and ash.


About 20 minutes after Friday's eruption, the mountain calmed and the plume began to dissipate. The ash appeared to pose no threat to anyone, but scientists warned that people living southwest of the mountain might notice a fine film of ash on their cars. No evacuations were ordered, and there was no sign of any lava oozing from the volcano.


Few people live near the mountain, about 100 miles south of Seattle. The closest structure is the Johnston Ridge Observatory, about five miles from the crater.


"It wasn't lava-y, so I wasn't scared," said Lorain Weatherby, who was working a snack bar down the road from St. Helens. "It was like a big white cloud."


For the past week, scientists have detected thousands of earthquakes of increasing strength — as high as magnitude 3.3 — suggesting another eruption was on the way. Steam frequently rises from the crater, but the 8,364-foot peak had not erupted since 1986.


"This is exactly the kind of event we've been predicting," said U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) scientist Cynthia Gardner.


The earthquakes quit after the eruption, said Jeff Wynn, another USGS (news - web sites) scientist.


He called the eruption a "throat-clearing."


"It's dead — bone-still right now," he said. "There's nothing happening at this stage, so this may have been a single event. But the history of the volcano suggests it could be an opening salvo and we'll see more events like this."


USGS seismologist Bob Norris said magma could be moving underground and he would not be surprised to see more explosions in the next days or weeks.


"The monitoring will definitely continue on a very intense scale until we can determine that the thing has really gone back to sleep," said Tom Pierson, a USGS geologist.


Mike Fergus, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) in Seattle, said the plume had reached 16,000 feet in altitude.


Alaska Airlines canceled five flights scheduled to take off from Portland International Airport in Oregon, but quickly resumed its normal schedule, said spokesman Sam Sperry.
I'm a bit dissappointed, as it wasn't what I expected, but It's cool still, nonetheless... so I guess that's a releif.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2004, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

Quote:
U.S. Warns of Big Mount St. Helens Blast

19 minutes ago Top Stories - AP


By PEGGY ANDERSEN, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE - Government scientists raised the alert level Saturday for Mount St. Helens after its second steam eruption in two days was followed by a powerful tremor. They said the next eruption was imminent or in progress, and could threaten life and property in the remote area near the volcano.


AP Photo


AFP
Slideshow: Mount St. Helens Erupts




Hundreds of visitors at the building closest to the volcano — Johnston Ridge Observatory five miles away — were asked to leave. They went quickly to their cars and drove away, with some relocating several miles north to Coldwater Ridge Visitors Center, which officials said was safe.


The volcano alert of Mount St. Helens was raised to Level 3, which "indicates we feel an eruption is imminent, or is in progress," said U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) geologist Tom Pierson from the observatory. He said Saturday afternoon that an explosion probably would happen within the next 24 hours.


Pierson said the volcano has released more seismic energy since quake activity began Sept. 23 than it has at any point since its devastating May 18, 1980, eruption, which killed 57 people and coated much of the Northwest with ash. But scientists expect the impending eruption to be much smaller than the 1980 blast.


A day after the volcano spewed a plume of steam and ash thousands of feet into the air, there was a very brief steam release Saturday — a puff of white cloud, followed by a dust-raising landslide in the crater. A volcanic tremor signal that came next was what prompted the heightened alert level.


The signal "was far stronger after today's steam eruption" than the tremor that followed Friday's blast, Steele said. "We were picking it up throughout western Washington and into central Oregon. Yesterday we had a very weak tremor signal."


A tremor — a steady vibration — "indicates movement of gases or fluid within the volcano," Steele said, while individual earthquakes indicate "a pounding and breaking of rock."


Saturday's tremor lasted about an hour before it was drowned out by a series of earthquakes — one or two a minute, with a maximum magnitude of "well over 2," said Tom Yelin, a USGS (news - web sites) seismologist at the UW lab in Seattle.


Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who flew over the mountain Saturday, said the seismic activity has weakened the 1,000-foot lava dome that began forming in the volcano's crater after the 1980 eruption.


Norton said the chances of an eruption or lava flow have increased, and that the volcano most likely will see moderate ash eruptions.


"The greatest concern at this point is an ash plume and the spread of ash itself that might come from an explosion," Norton said. "This is a concern for aircraft travel."


The growing consensus among scientists is that new magma is probably entering the volcano's upper levels, possibly bringing with it volatile gases that could lead to eruptions, said Bill Steele at the University of Washington's seismic laboratory in Seattle.


Explosions from the crater could occur without warning, possibly throwing rock onto the flanks of the volcano, the USGS said in a news release. Still, scientists said the evacuation of the observatory was primarily a precaution in case of heavy ash discharge, which could make it difficult to drive.


"We still feel the risk is confined to this area," Pierson said.


No communities are near Mount St. Helens; the closest, Toutle, is 30 miles west.


The 1980 blast obliterated the top 1,300 feet of the volcano, devastated miles of forest and buried the North Fork of the Toutle River in debris and ash as much as 600 feet deep.


The latest seismic activity "probably just reflects the fact that more rock needs to be broken for magma to reach the surface," said geologist Dan Dzurisin at the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcanic Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., about 50 miles south.





The 1980 eruption reamed open the route to the surface, and for six years smaller eruptions piled lava into the massive dome that marks the main conduit for magma. Friday's relatively small eruption, which generated a plume of ash and smoke 16,000 feet high, was the first since a 1986 dome-building event at the volcano.

Scientists had believed the recent flurry of shallow earthquakes may reflect movement of magma that came up the volcano's pipe during a 1998 swarm of quakes, but Pierson said Saturday's activity suggested at least some new magma was involved, making a larger explosion more likely.

Air sampling had detected only tiny amounts of the volcanic gases that new magma produces, but scientists said the gases could be sealed inside the system or have been dissolved by water on the mountain. The volcano holds a 600-foot-deep glacier and has received several inches of rain recently.

Melting of the glacier could trigger debris flows down onto the barren pumice plain at the foot of the mountain, the USGS said, noting a "very low probability" that downstream communities would be affected.

Few people live near the mountain, the centerpiece of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest about 100 miles south of Seattle. The closest structure is the observatory, five miles away.
I'm sorry for triple posting, but I am following this story closely... and I want some peoplle to know the updates.
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Old 10-03-2004, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

Yeah I heard they are already evacuateing people.
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Old 10-03-2004, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Erupting Earth

Quote:
SEATTLE (Reuters) - New tremors detected overnight at Mount St. Helens increased the likelihood that the Washington state volcano would erupt again, scientists tracking renewed earthquake activity at the mountain said on Sunday.


Reuters Photo


Reuters
Slideshow: Mount St. Helens Erupts




Willie Scott, a U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) geologist, said that tremors were detected in the crater of Mount St. Helens at 3 a.m. (1000 GMT) that indicated that a second eruption could be in store after Friday's minor explosion that sent up a plume of steam and ash.


The U.S. Geological Survey kept its warning level at a Level 3-Volcano Alert and kept off-limits a visitor center at the Johnston Ridge Observatory about five miles from the volcano's crater as a safety precaution.


Gases were also detected for the second day, Scott said, suggesting that magma may be building up underneath the crater's lava dome created after a 1980 eruption which killed 57 people, destroyed more than 200 homes, devastated hundreds of square miles, and sent ash drifting across North America as far east as Oklahoma.


Scientists do not expect any eruption to cause damage to surrounding areas on the same scale. A Level 3 warning means that there is a potential hazard to life and property in the area, the Geological Survey said.


"We're not envisioning pyroclastic (lava) flows," Scott told reporters at the Cascades Volcano Observatory, in Vancouver, Washington.


The main concern is how any ash sent into the air might disrupt air traffic near the volcano, located about 100 miles south of Seattle, and 50 miles north of Portland, Oregon.


Mount St. Helens woke from its slumber 10 days ago with a series of small earthquakes and erupted briefly on Friday, spewing steam and ash for about 24 minutes to an altitude of 10,000 feet.


Similar eruptions in the lava dome happened in 1986 but caused no serious damage.


The violent blast in 1980 blew off the top of the mountain and reduced the summit of Mount St. Helens to 8,364 feet from 9,677 feet.
HEh... more info!
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