USGS Update 2005-Jan-05 09:55
Potential ash hazards: Wind forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coupled with eruption models, show that ash clouds that rise above the crater rim today would drift west-southwestward.
Recent observations: A communications malfunction with the VolcanoCam prevents remote views of the volcano this morning. From town, however, the volcano is clear. Seismicity continues at a very low level interspersed with a few quakes per day as large as about magnitude 1.5. Analysis of photographs shows that the north end of the lava dome continues to emerge from the vent at a rate similar to that observed over the past several weeks, and that movement of this part of the dome is somewhat decoupled from the fractured bulk of the dome farther to the south. As a result, different parts of the dome are moving and shifting at different rates. We have no specific field plans for the next several days. When we next go out, crews plan to deploy another GPS unit on the rapidly emerging part of the dome near the vent.
Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continues, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash. During such eruptions, episodic changes in the level of activity can occur over days to months. The eruption could also intensify suddenly or with little warning and produce explosions that cause hazardous conditions within several miles of the crater and farther downwind. Small lahars could suddenly descend the Toutle River if triggered by heavy rain or by interaction of hot rocks with snow and ice. These lahars pose a negligible hazard below the Sediment Retention Structure (SRS) but could pose a hazard along the river channel upstream.
Potential ash hazards to aviation: Under current eruptive conditions, small, short-lived explosions may produce ash clouds that exceed 30,000 feet in altitude. Ash from such events can travel 100 miles or more downwind.
The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington continue to monitor the situation closely and will issue additional updates and changes in alert level as warranted.
My intent with this page is to provide a clearning house for links to the current activity at Mt.St.Helens. Please send me any links of interest that you may come across, whether for permanent sites or for news reports. I'm not going to be able to do this all alone and all help will be appreciated.
(Disclaimer I have no association with anyone or any organization, and speak only for myself. Links and quotes are provided for information only.)