Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Little activity, slower updates - what is the US Forest Service doing???

The level of seismic activity at Mount St Helens has been very low over recent weeks and there has not been any notable (or noticeable) visible activity overnight for some time now.

This seems to be because the extrusion of hot material in the lavadome is not currently visible from the vantage point of the Volcanocam.

The US Forest Service Volcanocam, situated at the Johnson Ridge Observatory (JRO), has recently undergone a clean and a software/server upgrade.

It seems that for whatever reason, the US Forest Service has downgraded the level of service to provide images only every half-hour or so, rather than every 5 minutes, as was the case since the latest eruption began.

I say "it seems" because there hasn't been any official confirmation of the downgraded service, or any explanation as to why this is the case.

What this means is that instead of getting an image from the active and on-going eruption at Mount St Helens every 5 minutes, the best the Forest Service can now manage is something approximating every 30 minutes (but appears to be variable, every 10-35 minutes the norm).

This does have some implications for the ability to monitor the ongoing extrusion of lava and potential hazards that may arise from Mount St Helens. Not to mention the ability to match seismic events with the visual images from the Volcanocam from a scientific perspective.

I haven't heard any official explanation as to why the people who monitor Mount St Helens, or more importantly, the people who live around the active volcano don't deserve to have accurate and timely information.

I will let you as any official feedback comes in...

cheers
darryl



Click Here