VolcanoCam Movies Archive

Eruption Event Movie - October 10, 2004

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Below the Flash movie may be a copy of the press release as issued the same day by the U.S. Geological Survey, Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington.

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Eruption Event Movie - October 10, 2004

USGS Mount St. Helens Information Statement
October 10, 2004, 7:00 am, PDT

(As issued by the U.S. Geological Survey, Vancouver, Washington
University of Washington, Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, Seattle, Washington)

Seismic activity has decreased slightly over the past 20 hours to low levels, similar to those observed during the evening hours of October 7. Earthquakes continue to occur at a rate of about 1 per minute, but most have magnitudes of 1.0 or less. With the improving weather, a gas measuring flight is planned within the next two days.

Additional analysis of lidar and photographs of the intensely uplifting area on the south side of the lava dome suggests that the total volume change represented by the deformation between late September and October 6 is about 16 million cubic meters (21 million cubic yards). The average rate of change is about 2 million cubic meters per day (2.6 million cubic yards per day). If this figure represents the rate of intrusion of magma into shallow levels of the dome and(or) underlying crater floor, it is an intrusion rate about twice that measured during dome-building eruptions at Mount St. Helens in the 1980s. Cartographers with the USGS office in Denver are working to develop precise volume change estimates for the uplifted area from stereo airphotos acquired between 1 and 5 October.

As a result of the intense unrest of the past 11 days, we infer that magma is at a very shallow level. During times of unrest, Mount St. Helens and similar volcanoes elsewhere typically go through episodic changes in level of unrest over periods of days to weeks, or even months. Such changes are in part driven by variations in the rate of magma movement. We expect fluctuations in the level of unrest to continue during coming days. Escalation in the degree of unrest and perhaps an eruption could occur suddenly or with very little warning. There may be little time to raise the alert level before a hazardous event occurs. Therefore, we continue to monitor the situation closely and will issue additional updates and changes in alert level as warranted.

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