USGS Update 2005-May-11 09:50

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 chiefly south-southwestward. Under such wind conditions, State Route 504, Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, and Johnston Ridge Observatory would generally be spared any potential fallout from an ash plume.

Recent observations: Although the view from the VolcanoCam at JRO is obscured by clouds, the mountain is clear. Images from a camera at the mouth of the crater show the new spine of lava at the north end of the dome continuing to grow. Data from seismic and GPS instruments in the crater and on the outer flanks of the volcano show no significant changes from readings of the past few weeks, although yesterday evening (~7pm) there was a slightly larger than usual (M2+) earthquake. Overall, the lava is able to emerge from the ground easily, and it is effectively decoupled from its surroundings. Weather permitting, we will have crews out tomorrow making observations and gathering photographs and thermal images.

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Standard USGS Update

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.)

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