USGS Update 2005-Feb-09 10:00
Potential ash hazards: Wind forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coupled with eruption models, show that any ash clouds that rise above the crater rim today would drift northward at low altitudes and northeastward to eastward at higher altitudes.
Recent observations: Good weather yesterday provided excellent conditions for field work. A new spyder with GPS and seismic sensors was deployed by helicopter near the top of the new lava dome. Early results show that it is moving upward about 1.5 meters per day and to the southeast about 5 meters per day, a bit more slowly than the last GPS deployed on the dome in mid-January. Preliminary analysis of data from a gas-sensing flight yesterday suggests that gas emissions are unchanged from recent measurements. Other work involved repairs to a radio repeater and replacement of the small window through which the DomeCam obtains images. The DomeCam lies near the mouth of the crater and the old window had become scratched as a result of numerous cleanings of ash coatings. The cliff on the south end of the new lava dome is vertical to overhanging and generating rockfalls that are accompanied by small ash clouds.
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.)