Mount St. Helens building up to next act

Mount St. Helens, May 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Thirty-four years after the most expensive and deadly volcanic eruption in the history of the United States, there is evidence Mount St. Helens is beginning to build up to its next act.

“All the lines of evidence came together and USGS was able to say with certainty that deep down beneath the volcano magma is again moving in and repressurizing,” said scientist Peter Frenzen.

Since March 26, there have been 20 earthquakes at Mount St. Helens, including three this week.

Scientist Peter Franzen keeps an eye on Mount St. Helens, May 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Scientist Peter Franzen keeps an eye on Mount St. Helens, May 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“Microquakes are part of life at Mount St. Helens,” Frenzen told KOIN 6 News. “It’s the plumbing, it’s the pressure, the rock breaking, whether it be from cooling or shrinking or swelling. A lot of stuff going on.”

There is no indication of an immediate threat. But scientists said things can change quickly.

“In 2004,” he said,” we saw the volcano going from quiet to eruptive state in two weeks time.”

Back then Mount St. Helens erupted a dump-truck load of semi-solid molten rock for three straight years.

The volcano captured the world’s attention.

Mount St. Helens, May 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Mount St. Helens, May 15, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

As fascinating as eruptions are, scientists said it’s equally amazing to watch the re-birth of the land around Mount St. Helens.

“This place is an incredibly productive ecosystem that’s re-established itself in 34 years time,” Frenzen said.

It’s not asleep. So scientists will continue to monitor every motion, every change beneath Mount St. Helens.

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