Thursday, March 31, 2005

The glow reappears!

After an almost two week absence, the incandescent glow in the crater of Mount St Helens reappeared last night on the images from the US Forest Service Volcanocam!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Mount St Helens - rumbling in the dark

Over the last couple of days there has been an apparent increase in seismic activity at (or I guess more accurately, under) Mount St Helens. Since yesterday morning there have been six earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater and 12 quakes greater than magnitude 2.0 (ref: earthquake list for Mount St Helens).

Unfortunately, the view of the mountain has been obscured by clouds for several days now and we have no idea of any related outbursts or explosive activity that may be occurring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mount St Helens - 6 month anniversary

Well today marks the 6 month anniversary since Mount St Helens began its current eruptive phase. We have seen several major explosions and followed the night time activity of the "glow" with much interest.

The USGS/CVO are reporting that the new lava dome continues to grow and that "the highest part of the new lava dome stands at an altitude of 7,682 feet, 527 higher than the old lava dome, and 92 feet below the level of Shoestring Notch on the southeast crater rim."

Unfortunately, the mountain has been fairly quiet over the last few days and nights and bad weather has obscured the view of the crater from the US Forest Service Volcanocam.

However, there is some good news for those planning a visit to the mountain. The Seattle Times is reporting that many of the areas around the mountain that have been closed to the public over the last 6 months will re-open from May 6, including the Johnson Ridge Observatory.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Enhanced seismicity on Mt St Helens?

The view from the Volcanocam was blocked by clouds last last night, so we don't know if there were any visible outbursts of activity. However, the seismic traces from some of the stations around the crater showed enhanced activity last night - most obvious on the Studebaker, Cedar Flats and June Lake webicorder traces.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Mount St Helens update

The night time activity of the mountain has remained at very low levels over the past week. Last night the glow flickered into view for only a few moments around midnight and then just before dawn this morning. No major outbursts of acivity have been seen since last week. It seems likely that last weeks explosion would have brocken away any loosely held debris on the lavadome and that more outbursts and rockfalls won't occur until the lavadome fractures again causing a fresh set of landslides.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

NASA confirms Dust Devils in Spirit images...

NASA has confirmed the speculation that the Mars Rover Spirit photgraphed Dust Devils on Mars last week.

Apologies for the delay in reporting on this - I've been away for a few days holiday :-)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mount St Helens update

There was a minor outburst of activity this morning at 01:08, which most likely resulted from a small rockfall from the lavadome. Otherwise the mountain seems to have returned to the levels of activity occurring before Tuesdays eruption...

The USGS are reporting that the source of Tuesday's blast was on the north-northwest side of the new dome and that gas measurements do not indicate the presence of any new gas-rich magma resulting from the eruption.

Dust Devil on Mars?

We have known for some time that dust devils (like mini tornados) ply there way across the plains of Mars from the images from orbiting spacecraft - see ref 1, ref 2, ref 3.

Now its possible that one of the Mars rovers, Spirit, may have snapped a couple of shots of a dust devil from its present vantage point on the Columbia Hills.

What do you think, dust devil or not?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Mount St Helen's has a calm night

The glow in the crater reappeared last night, but was very faint indeed. Enhancement of the Volcanocam images showed that there was continuous low levels of activity, but no major outburst were observed.

New images from the USGS show the glacier and crater coated in a thick layer of ash from the eruption on Monday afternoon.

Credit: USGS Photograph taken March 9, 2005, by Elliot Endo.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mount St Helens eruption update

Following the impressive steam and ash eruption that occurred yesterday afternoon around 17:25, many of us were hoping for some more fireworks after the sunset.

The incandescent glow did appear throughout the night, but the display wasn't anywhere near as spectacular as the 10 kilometer high plume that rose in the sky following the outburst.

Credit: USGS Photograph taken at approximately 5:30 PM PST on March 8, 2005, by Matt Logan.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mount St Helens erupts!

A major steam explosion occurred about 25 minutes ago. Unfortuntely, there's not much to see on the Volcanocam at the moment. However, there may change after night fall when the incandescence from the lava may be visible.

The plume is apparently now greater than 10,000 m high...

The eruption is clearly visible on the webicorder (seismometer) traces as a significant increase in activity beginning around 5:30pm.

Stay tuned for updates...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Volcanocam problems

There have been no new images transmitted from the Volcanocam since Friday morning at 10:43, apparently due to a network transmission problem. The webmaster is reporting that this won't be fixed until Monday at the earliest...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Only one flash from the Mt St Helens last night

Despite apparently clear weather, the incandescent glow only made one appearance on the Volcanocam images last night at 18:53 local time...

The glow was a little more active on the night of 02/03 March, and a movie of that has been posted.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Weather closes in on Mount St Helens

There has been no sign of the night time glow for the last couple of days due to bad weather on the mountain. Over the weekend the view was clear, but the glow was fairly dim and not very active.

Photographs of the lavadome taken on 25 February clearly show continuing rockfalls have been occurring and the "whaleback" is starting to lose its smooth extruded appearance.

USGS Photograph taken on February 25, 2005, by Mike Doukas and Julie Griswold

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