Monday, September 27, 2004

At Least It’s Not Here

From the Sun-Sentinel:

SEATTLE — Seismologists believe there’s an increased likelihood of a hazardous event at Mount St. Helens due to a strengthening series of earthquakes at the volcano.

“The key issue is a small explosion without warning. That would be the major event that we’re worried about right now,” said Willie Scott, a geologist with the USGS office in Vancouver.

Initially, hundreds of tiny earthquakes that began Thursday morning had slowly declined through Saturday. By Sunday, however, there had been more than 10 temblors of magnitude 2.0 to 2.8, the most in a 24-hour period since the last dome-building eruption in October 1986, Scott said.

The quakes have occurred at depths less than one mile below the lava dome within the mountain’s crater. Some of the earthquakes suggest the involvement of pressurized fluids, such as water or steam, and perhaps magma.

Mount St. Helens is about 55 miles northeast of Portland, Ore.

Say what you will about hurricanes (and I’ve heard a lot recently), at least they don’t spew ash and make the ground shake.