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USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington

Cascade Range Current Update

U.S. Geological Survey, Vancouver, Washington
University of Washington, Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, Seattle, Washington

Volcanoes in the Cascade Range are all at normal levels of background seismicity except for Mount St. Helens. See Mount St. Helens update below.

Other volcanoes include Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams in Washington State; Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry, and Crater Lake, in Oregon; and Medicine Lake, Mount Shasta, and Lassen Peak in northern California.

USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network at the University of Washington, and the USGS Northern California Seismic Network and Volcano Hazards Team in Menlo Park, California, monitor the major volcanoes in the Cascade Range of northern California, Oregon, and Washington.

Mount St. Helens Update, October 14, 2004, 7:00 a.m, PDT

Current status is Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2); aviation color code ORANGE

Seismic activity remained at a low level overnight, little changed from yesterday. Wednesday's visual observations and thermal imaging of the crater focused on the intensely deforming and uplifting area on the south side of the 1980-86 lava dome and on the new lobe of lava in the western part of that area. The areas of both the uplift and the new lobe of lava are still increasing. Temperatures of almost 700 degrees C were measured in parts of the new lobe, from which ash-rich jets rose tens of meters. Abundant steam continued to rise from the area of lava extrusion to the crater rim, where it dispersed southwestward in strong winds.

Other field work on Wednesday included a gas-sensing flight (data not yet reduced), downloading GPS data, and observations of water flows and temperatures in streams draining the crater. Today's fieldwork will include a thermal imaging flight, geologic observations, and instrument maintenance.

Wind forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), combined with eruption models, show light north to northwesterly winds this morning. Any ash clouds will drift generally south to southeastward.

Magma continues to be at a very shallow level and is extruding onto the surface and forming a new lobe of the lava dome. Incandescence or glow from the hot rock will likely be visible intermittently from north of the volcano, or possibly from other vantage points if the right cloud conditions exist.

Lava-dome growth is a dynamic process and, as we observed in the mid-1980s, Mount St. Helens and similar volcanoes elsewhere typically go through episodic changes in level of activity over periods of days to weeks, or even months. Such changes are in part driven by variations in the rate of magma movement. We expect fluctuations in the level of eruptive activity to continue. Escalation could occur suddenly or with very little warning and may include explosive events. We continue therefore to monitor the situation closely and will issue additional updates and changes in alert level as warranted.

Today’s media briefing will be held at the Headquarters of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest at 10:30 a.m.



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09/30/04, Lyn Topinka