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Public Eye

Mount St. Helens (46.202N, 122.189W)

On September 27, 2004, scientists from the USGS issued an alert that the Mount Saint Helens volcano in the northwestern United States may erupt again soon. The scientists cited a series of small earthquakes has increased the chance for a "hazardous event" at the site in Washington state. By September 29th, the cited earthquakes were occuring at the rate of four per minute and were increasing in magnitude. Additionally, the scientists said that there is a 70 percent chance the volcano will erupt which raised the volvano advisory has been raised to the mid-level. On October 1, Mount St. Helens released large clouds of steam. The next day, scientists stated that energy releases were higher than they were before the blast on Friday.

On October 3, scientists detected a new tremor, signaling that the volcano is ready to erupt. There were signs that magma, or molten rock, was moving underground and building pressure inside the volcano. In response to the increased activity, the government raised its alert level for Mount St. Helens and told people to leave the immediate area. The following day a large plume of steam was being emitted from the volcano. Furthermore, scientists stated that small earthquakes would continue to shake the area.

The recent activities have been the first of its kind since the major eruption on May 18, 1980. The 1980 eruption was supplanted by an earthquake causing the north face of the mountain to collapse in a massive rock avalanche. Nearly 230 sq miles of forest was blowm over or left dead and standing. The explosion created a giant mushroon cloud of ash thousands of feet high which scattered gray ash over eastern Washington and beyond. In 1982, the US government deemed the area a national volcanic momument for research, recreation, and education.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2011 18:34:36 ZULU