USGS Update 2005-Mar-08 18:00
A small explosive event at Mount St. Helens volcano began at approximately 5:25 p.m. PST. Pilot reports indicate that the resulting steam-and-ash plume reached an altitude of about 36,000 feet above sea level within a few minutes and drifted downwind to the east-northeast. The principal event lasted about 30 minutes with intensity gradually declining throughout. The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory lost radio signals from three monitoring stations in the crater soon after the event started. The cause of the outage won’t be known until scientists can visit the crater tomorrow to assess the situation, weather permitting. The event followed a few hours of slightly increased earthquake activity that was noted but not interpreted as precursory activity. There were no other indications of an imminent change in activity.
Update: 22:25 Added photo link
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.)