Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I don't know where I'm a gonna go 

On September 23, 2004, Mount St. Helens began stirring again. For two weeks, the mountain put on a show, with clusters of earthquakes and gouts of steam and ash from the crater. In early October, the volcano seemed to settle down again, although a new lava dome has been growing inside the crater since that time. Today, something happened. Is this just the volcano blinking sleepily, or are we in for more activity?

USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory
Mount St. Helens Information Statement
Tuesday, March 8, 2005, 6:00 P.M. PST

A small explosive event at Mount St. Helens volcano began at approximately 5:25 p.m. PST. Pilot reports indicate that the resulting steam-and-ash plume reached an altitude of about 36,000 feet above sea level within a few minutes and drifted downwind to the east-northeast. The principal event lasted about 30 minutes with intensity gradually declining throughout. The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory lost radio signals from three monitoring stations in the crater soon after the event started. The cause of the outage won’t be known until scientists can visit the crater tomorrow to assess the situation, weather permitting. The event followed a few hours of slightly increased earthquake activity that was noted but not interpreted as precursory activity. There were no other indications of an imminent change in activity.