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post #31 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-01-2004, 02:04 PM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

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Rickg - 10/1/2004 1:03 PM

Yeah. What a let down! Just a poof!
Careful what you wish for......

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post #32 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-01-2004, 06:45 PM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....


Quote:
Rickg - 10/1/2004 1:03 PM

Yeah. What a let down! Just a poof!
Speak for yourself! I just barely turned into the driveway as the smoldering river of red hot magma slithered down my street--wheeeiuw, that was a close one! I promise never to lie, cheat or philander ever again, I swear!
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post #33 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-01-2004, 06:59 PM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

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Zeitgeist - 10/1/2004 5:45 PM

I promise never to lie, cheat or philander ever again, I swear!
So much for your future in politics....

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #34 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

May get my wish yet[:D]

MOUNT ST. HELENS - There's a greater chance than before of bigger and more ash-rich eruptions from the rumbling volcano, scientists said.

But Mount St. Helens teased the Sunday crowds of spectators, and many volcano watchers headed down the mountain at sunset without having seen a major blast.

"There's a significantly greater chance of gas-rich magma moving toward the surface," said geologist John Pallister of the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., about 50 miles south.

With shallow earthquakes of magnitude 3 about every five minutes, the seismicity or shaking was "basically back up to those relatively high levels that we saw before the last eruptions," Pallister said Sunday night.

"We do see evidence of rise of magma to shallow levels inside the crater area," Pallister said. More steam and ash eruptions could occur at any time, the update said.

"There is also an increased probability of larger magnitude and more ash-rich eruptions," the update said.

The volcano alert remained at Level 3 since it was raised Saturday, meaning that a volcanic eruption appeared imminent.

The Ape Cave, near Cougar south of the mountain, was closed by the U.S. Forest Service late Sunday after a rock was found dislodged from the lava tube's roof. Also closed was the Mount Margaret back country located north of Spirit Lake.

Most air traffic was prohibited within a 5-mile radius of the volcano.

Scientists were considering lowering their alert from a Level 3 "volcano advisory," which indicates eruption is imminent, to Level 2 "volcanic unrest," which indicates an eruption is possible.

Many spectators couldn't wait out the mountain, which runs on geological time rather than by the human clock. Sunset brought a mass exodus off the mountain.

"Our attention span is about like this," said James Wilder, 25, of Aberdeen, holding his forefinger and thumb about one-quarter of an inch apart. "We've been here five hours and we need to leave pretty soon."



The Coldwater Ridge Visitors Center, 8.5 miles from the mountain with a straight-on view into the crater, closed at 6 p.m. as usual and vehicles had to leave the parking lot.

Earlier in the day, Nick Racine, 25, a U.S. Forest Service ranger from Chicago, held court with his laptop computer, logging onto seismographs at the University of Washington and showing the eager crowd some real-time seismicity.

"This is generating a lot of excitement. We're thrilled (that) you guys are thrilled," he told the crowd.

He wasn't bothered that some visitors were impatient. "It's human nature," he said with a shrug.

Nearby, a female ranger led the crowd in an "Eruption Dance," shaking like an earthquake, moving her arms to act out a possible eruption.

Scientists have said they do not expect anything close to the devastation of the May 18, 1980, explosion, which killed 57 people and coated much of the Northwest with ash.

The main concern has been the possibility of a significant ash plume carrying gritty pulverized rock and silica that could damage aircraft engines and the surfaces of cars and home.

Winds were from the east and southeast Sunday night, meaning that any ash clouds would drift to the west and northwest, the USGS said. The closest community is Toutle, 30 miles west near the entrance to the park.

The degree of explosivity in the magma could vary widely, depending on the gas content of the magma and conditions, said geologist Willie Scott at the observatory. Cascade range magma is very viscous with a consistency like toothpaste, so lava is not expected to escape the crater.

Volcanic tremors detected Saturday and Sunday were the first since before the 1980 eruption.

Most of the action has occurred beneath a 1,000-foot lava dome that has been building up on the crater floor - mostly with lava releases between 1980, after the eruption, and 1986.

The dome essentially serves as a plug on the rift in the Earth that connects the mountain and magma miles below the surface. The dome is filled with lava that came up during 1998 earthquakes but never surfaced. New lava may be coming up as well.

The mountain took scientists on a "rollercoaster ride" early Sunday when instruments detected the second extended volcanic vibration in two days - 25 minutes long compared to Saturday's 50-minute vibration.

The 1980 blast obliterated the top 1,300 feet of the volcano, devastated miles of forest and buried the North Fork of the Toutle River in debris and ash as much as 600 feet deep.

Besides lava emission, ash flows and rock-throwing, an eruption could cause melting of the volcano's 600-foot-deep glacier and trigger debris flows to the barren pumice plain at the foot of the mountain.

The monument is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest about 100 miles south of Seattle.
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post #35 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 09:06 AM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

Face it Rick -- St. Helens is looking down at you, saying "kiss my ash!"

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post #36 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 09:48 AM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

From what I have read, the change in C02 readings emanating from the volcano are an indication that a tremendous eruption is on the way.
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post #37 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

Yeah, they're expecting a pretty good one from all the reports I've listened to all weekend. But still nothing compared to the '80 blast.
But I guess still no chance of an actual magma flow. We have what's called "cold eruptuions", versus the "hot eruptions" of places like Hawaii. Bummer[V][;)]
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post #38 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

The boiling magma rumbling and rising within Mount St. Helens isn't the only thing scientists fear. When large volcanoes erupt they can unleash an awesome arsenal of natural weapons, devastating communities and landscapes even hundreds of miles from the blast.

First, there's the gritty, glassy ash that travels for miles. That's what scientists consider to be the main hazard from Mount St. Helens during the current volcano alert.

But bigger volcano blasts can produce more frightening scenarios: high-speed mudslides caused by a rush of water carrying house-sized boulders and intensely hot clouds of rock fragments and lava.

You think the hurricanes in Florida have been vicious? Don't try boarding up your windows and riding out a pyroclastic flow, a lahar or a tephra blizzard - the technical names for all those hazards, which are among Earth's most powerful forces.

In the mountain's historic 1980 eruption, they combined to turn a swath of the Pacific Northwest into a moonscape, killing 57 people.

Scientists believe Mount St. Helens is ready to erupt again, although perhaps not with the kind of power seen when the mountain literally blew its top.

"There is a wide range of explosivity," said geologist Willie Scott of the U.S. Geological Survey. "It's that uncertainty that makes us cautious."

But it's more than molten rock that makes a volcano dangerous. It's the dissolved carbon dioxide and other gases in the magma. Fresh, foaming magma contains more gas than old magma. Even the water dissolved in magma expands violently when it reaches the surface and hits the air.

Scott compared it to shaking a can of soda pop.

"If the gas content is high, the explosivity is greater," he said.

Sometimes gases vent from the magma even without an eruption. Leaking carbon dioxide can silently kill trees, or people who venture too close. Sulfur dioxide creates smoggy air pollution that contributes to respiratory disease and generates acid rain that kills forests and aquatic life.

The most likely and widespread danger from any volcano is ash. Initially, ash is blasted 60,000 feet into the atmosphere. Then winds carry it for dozens or even hundreds of miles.

Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion like the fluffy ash from a wood stove or charcoal barbecue. Gritty and abrasive, it is made up of tiny fragments of rock, natural glass and minerals that get pulverized by earthquakes and internal explosions.

In its 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens belched some 500 million tons of ash over surrounding states, where it fell like a gray, minerally snowfall. It caused most of the $1 billion in property damage attributed to the eruption.

The plume can choke the engines of passing aircraft. Ash can clog and wreck machinery, electronics, cars, air conditioners, furnaces and irrigation systems. Dry ash can collapse roofs and scratch windows. Large clouds disrupt telecommunications signals.

Ash poses real health risks, especially to children, the elderly, people with chronic respiratory illnesses, as well as wildlife and pets. It settles on the leaves of plants, preventing photosynthesis.

In this current explosive phase, researchers expect Mount St. Helens to generate less ash than in 1980. So far, it has sprinkled ash on nearby Vancouver, Wash., and other downwind communities.

"We could see an explosion that throws up a column for an hour or so," Scott said.

Other volcanic forces are deadlier still.

Tephra is a catchall term for fragments of volcanic rock and lava thrown airborne. Some tephra is nearly four feet wide, but most of it is gravel that behaves like shrapnel and shreds whatever is in its path.

A lahar is a catastrophic slurry of water and rock fragments that rushes down the volcano's tall, steep slopes. It looks like wet concrete and can carry house-sized boulders, trees, even bridges. It follows river valleys, often growing and gaining speed as it consumes the water in the channel.

In the 1980 eruption, lahars swept downhill on three sides of the mountain at 70 mph. They left mudflows up to 30 feet deep extending for dozens of miles.

A volcano's other doomsday weapon is a pyroclastic flow. At the bottom of the flow is a layer of coarse rock fragments that burst forth like a shotgun blast. It hugs the ground, splintering entire forests like toothpicks and exploding buildings. The top layer is a turbulent ash cloud.

A pyroclastic cloud is fast - 50-100 mph. What's worse, it's hot - up to 1,500 degrees. It destroys everything in its path like a boiling hurricane.

In 1980, Mount St. Helens directed a blast of hot material that reached 300 mph. A "seared zone" of timber extended for 17 miles.

This time around, scientists don't expect the mountain to generate such a show of force.

"We're not anticipating hot flow to any great distance," Scott said.
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post #39 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

Mount St. Helens is poised for its biggest eruption since it blew its top in 1980, killing 57 people. Here are some common questions and answers about the volcano located about 100 miles south of Seattle.

Q: Why is the volcano active now?

A. An active volcano like Mount St. Helens always experiences minor rumblings. Now, hot magma is rising higher inside the mountain and filling its interior chamber. This triggers swarms of earthquakes. The gases dissolved in the magma build up pressure and are very explosive.

Q: What will happen when the volcano erupts?

A: Scientists aren't sure. So far, it has emitted steam and a little ash. A large eruption throws rocks and vents off poisonous gases. Volcanic lava flows downhill and melts anything in its path, although at Mount St. Helens scientists say it is most likely to remain inside the crater's steep walls. However, an eruption also could produce a pyroclastic flow of superheated rocks and ash that shatters and burns anything in its path, as the 1980 cataclysm did.

People near the volcano may have to contend with large clouds of gritty ash that could spew as much as 60,000 feet high, threatening aircraft.

Q: Is the ash fallout similar to that from a forest fire?

A: No. Wood ash is fluffy. Volcanic ash is a gritty mixture of pulverized rock and natural glass. It can scratch and ruin the painted finish of cars and homes. It clogs engines, machinery, irrigation and ventilation systems. It can kill plants by coating their leaves and preventing photosynthesis. People should wear masks and not breathe in the ash.

Q: How can scientists predict eruptions?

A: Scientists don't know exactly what will happen or when, but they look for clues in the changes registered by seismic and other monitoring devices. Mount St. Helens is one of the world's most heavily instrumented mountains, and researchers are reconnecting instruments that were initially knocked out by tremors. Plus, federal agencies have dispatched airplanes to make air sampling flights. GPS satellites measure bulges and other changes to the mountain's lava dome and steep flanks that signal an impending eruption. Weather stations forecast wind conditions that steer ash clouds.

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post #40 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-04-2004, 10:29 AM
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RE: Mt. St. helens has the hiccups.....

I always wondered what they did with all that felled lumber, conveniently all stacked pointing in one direction- away from the volcano! What did you guys do with all that stuff? The pictures this week showed a bare landscape.
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