Mount St. Helens Latest News: Eruption Imminent!
The latest from The Seattle Times:
COLDWATER RIDGE VISITOR CENTER — A brief steam release yesterday followed by steady tremors deep within Mount St. Helens have led scientists to believe an eruption larger than Friday's 24-minute ash event may happen within days.
In a sharp reversal of earlier predictions, scientists say they now believe the volcano is capable of a substantial explosion that could create an ash cloud rising tens of thousands of feet and a lava flow from new magma entering the volcano.
I found this to be most interesting:
While scientists say an eruption, expected within the next few days to a week, is unlikely to eclipse the May 18, 1980, event, they do believe the volcano could hurl ash and rocks more than five miles — which would still be in the uninhabited area around the mountain. Last week's activity at the mountain is the most powerful since the 1980 blast that killed 57 people.
Based on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, which measures the power behind an eruption, scientists yesterday predicted a 50 percent chance of a new eruption reaching Level 2 on the scale from 1 to 10, and a 30 percent chance of a Level 3, according to a preliminary estimate from Thomas Pierson, a USGS hydrologist.
By comparison, Friday's combined steam and ash cloud measured less than 1 on the index, while the 1980 eruption measured 5.