Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Under The Volcano: Gases Yield Clues To Mount St. Helens' Next Eruption

Date:
October 15, 2004
Source:
University Of Bristol
Summary:
Research reported in the journal Science shows that rocks erupted from the Mount St Helens volcano in 1980 preserve a remarkable record of the goings-on beneath the volcano in the period prior to its eruption.

Mount St. Helens dome and uplift with new growth, as seen from the southeast. USGS Photograph taken on 13 October 2004, by Kathy Cashman.
Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Research reported in Science today (14 October 2004) shows that rocks erupted from the Mount St Helens volcano in 1980 preserve a remarkable record of the goings-on beneath the volcano in the period prior to its eruption.

Related Articles


Professor Jon Blundy and his PhD student Kim Berlo from the Earth Sciences Department at Bristol University, UK, demonstrate that monitoring the content of gases being emitted from the volcano right now might predict whether the next eruption will be so catastrophic, and when it might occur.

The team identified a subterranean reservoir full of magma at around 7 km depth that had been steadily shedding gas for at least five years prior to the eruption. Some of this gas then accumulated in a more shallow and short-lived reservoir around 4 km beneath the volcano. It is the expansion of these gas bubbles as they rise up that ultimately drives volcanic eruptions.

Blundy and his team showed that the magma which erupted explosively in May 1980 came largely from both the deep and shallow reservoirs, while subsequent, more gentle eruptions in 1980 came exclusively from magma trapped at shallow levels. Clearly there is a link between the storage depth of the magma and its eruptive style.

Furthermore, using short-lived radioactive isotopes, they demonstrate that the process of gas transfer from deep to shallow reservoirs must have occurred just weeks before the eruption.

Mount St. Helens recently cleared its throat with a series of small steam and ash eruptions. But it is unclear whether this activity will evolve into a more substantial eruption such as the explosion in 1980 which removed 400 metres off the top of the volcano and spewed ash over an area of more than 56,000 square kilometres.

Professor Blundy said: ‘We have shown there is a link between the storage depth of magma and the explosiveness of an eruption. This suggests that monitoring the abundance of short-lived radioactive isotopes above restless volcanoes could be a useful tool for predicting the style of the next eruption. It might also provide clues as to when the next eruption will occur’.

A wide range of print-quality images of Mount St Helens, freely available to the media, can be down-loaded from: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/Images/MSH04/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bristol. "Under The Volcano: Gases Yield Clues To Mount St. Helens' Next Eruption." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041015101945.htm>.
University Of Bristol. (2004, October 15). Under The Volcano: Gases Yield Clues To Mount St. Helens' Next Eruption. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041015101945.htm
University Of Bristol. "Under The Volcano: Gases Yield Clues To Mount St. Helens' Next Eruption." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041015101945.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins