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News

Mount St. Helens Shoots Steam, Ash 337

Wynken de Word writes "Months after the preliminary signs starting showing, Washington State's Mount St. Helens is sending a plume of steam and ash 7,600 metres into the air as of Tuesday, 17:25 PST. See the U.S. Geological Survey site for more updates and, come daylight, check out the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam."
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Mount St. Helens Shoots Steam, Ash

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  • No worries (Score:3, Funny)

    by RileyLewis ( 826273 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:53PM (#11884965)
    This story is just a bunch of hot air.
  • Ouch! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wwolmack ( 731212 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:55PM (#11884978)
    Well, some people would say steam [steampowered.com] deserves it, but shooting Ash [imdb.com] is just wrong.

    Thanks folks, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waiterbot.
    • Re:Ouch! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Thanks folks, I'll be here all week.

      I'm pretty sure Megan's Law doesn't apply to the Internet, so no warning was necessary.
    • Re:Ouch! (Score:3, Funny)

      by ciroknight ( 601098 )
      ...Shoulda linked Ash to Ash Ketchum (pokemon).

      At least then nobody would care if you blew him out a volcano...
      • Re:Ouch! (Score:3, Funny)

        Didn't he get shot out of a volcano once, they were fighting in it.. and oh god I've given away that I watched the show.

        *hides*
  • Amazing... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:55PM (#11884983)
    I live less than 50 miles from St Helens, and I heard about this on Slashdot first.
    • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:45AM (#11885926) Homepage Journal
      I was leaving work in Vancouver at the time it blew. It was quite spectacular. The plume was impressively long. By the tail end, you could see the seperation of ash from the steam.


      What is interesting is that there was absolutely ZERO warning. There had been some minor tremors in the hours before, but nothing that would indicate something on this scale.


      Personally, I think someone slipped the volcano some lima beans.

      • by darkpixel2k ( 623900 ) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:10AM (#11886015) Homepage
        I work in the emergency services sector in Skamania County (the county that the mountain is in) and it put us all into a flurry.

        Within 30 minutes they were having emergency meetings to discuss the ashfall, getting all the services (Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement) briefed on what to do, etc...

        After an hour they realized the winds would blow it just past the major population areas of our county and into the neighboring county (Klickitat) to the east.

        Right now Klickitat is getting ashfall like it's snowing...
      • What is interesting is that there was absolutely ZERO warning. There had been some minor tremors in the hours before, but nothing that would indicate something on this scale.

        People who live near volcanos (and earthquake faults and hurricane zones and tornado alleys and flood zones and . . . ) can acquire such an interesting perspective on what "no warning" means.

        I mean, it's a _volcano_. It warned us in 1980. What more can we expect?
    • Re:Amazing... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Polybius ( 743489 )
      It will be more amazing when Yellowstone blows its top again. I'm sure you will know if you live within 50 miles of that because you will be killed by falling rock. You will also know if you live thousands of miles east due to the rain of ash.
  • by ruprechtjones ( 545762 ) <ruprechtjones@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @11:58PM (#11885001) Homepage
    Woo hoo! I'm watching it right now from my back door! Wait, no I'm not, it's dark here in Seattle.

    What use is it if the thing blows at 5:30pm? The local news needs footage, man!

    • Stereogram (Score:3, Funny)

      by soloport ( 312487 )
      Ok, so for others, not so near... If you stare at the web cam shot [fs.fed.us] long enough -- and try to look sort of past your screen -- you can see it in 3D.

      No? Just keep staring...
  • photo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:00AM (#11885021)
    my photoblog entry tonight:

    http://www.euphorochrome.com/photoblog/index.php?p =131 [euphorochrome.com]

    • a well-composed photograph to be sure

      It sure is nice to see breaking-news photographs which are also visually appealing. I like how the smoke plume follows the rule of thirds :-)
  • NWCN video (Score:5, Informative)

    by bleu24 ( 774084 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:01AM (#11885026)
    NWCN site has a video the "Take a look inside the crater" http://www.nwcn.com/ [nwcn.com] link shows... well inside the crater. You have to sign up.
  • by jleq ( 766550 )
    Heh... no picture, just the usual red/green/blue dashes indicating "no signal", i.e. "the camera melted" Doesn't sound fun.
  • by skraps ( 650379 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:03AM (#11885038)
    How close is Mount St. Helens to Redmond?
  • by SamMichaels ( 213605 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:04AM (#11885046)
    This happened before...quite recently in the grand scheme of things. Lives were lost, lives were ruined, towns destroyed. There's a small vial of dust sitting on a shelf in my parents' house.

    I'd be interested in hearing about the new technology since then as well as what they plan to do. Detailed info seems scarce on the geological site.
    • I'd be interested in hearing about the new technology since then as well as what they plan to do.

      In the wake of the disastrous 1980 eruption, the government has been stockpiling hundreds of thousands of tons of baking soda in depots all along the Cascade Range.

      The plan to combat future eruptions is to utilize a fleet of C-130 transports to bombard the volcanoes with massive quantities of baking soda. When the blanket of baking soda combines with the acidic volcanic gasses and melting snowcaps, it will

    • What we plan to do.

      Well, since it is a VOLCANO, we are going to get the hell out of the way and sit back and watch as nothing we can do will make a damn bit of difference.
    • When you hear the eruption, duck and cover.
    • by Kymermosst ( 33885 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:24AM (#11886316) Journal
      This happened before...quite recently in the grand scheme of things. Lives were lost, lives were ruined, towns destroyed. There's a small vial of dust sitting on a shelf in my parents' house.

      If by "this" you mean today's steam-and-ash explosion, and by "before" you mean the 1980 lateral blast (plinian eruption), you are wrong.

      Relatively, "this" was a firecracker and the 1980 eruption was a stick of dynamite.

      I'd be interested in hearing about the new technology since then as well as what they plan to do. Detailed info seems scarce on the geological site.

      New technology really isn't what's making a difference. GPS clinometers are nice, but keep in mind that in 1980 there was a visible bulge on the side of the mountain before the lateral blast. At the time, nobody figured it'd suddenly fall away and do what it did.

      Specifically, magma with a high gas content was building up inside the mountain due to a plugged vent. It caused visible (to the naked eye) surface deformation on the flank of the hill. Eventually, the slope of this deformation reached a critical point. Finally, coincidentally with a magnitude 5 earthquake, the unstable slope collapsed. This released the pressure on the gas-filled magma, causing instant degassing. Very much like popping the cork on a hot bottle of champaigne.

      What happened today was either a dome collapse or a minor stoppage that was overcome. A very small event.

      Mostly what's changed since 1980 is refined observation and monitoring. Believe me, they are watching for deformation, along with other factors that indicate the character of the eruption sequence. These factors include gas concentrations, surface temperature, lava extrusion rates, seismicity, and others. Instruments to monitor most of these existed in rudimentary form in 1980, they just weren't used like they are today. The huge eruption was a wake-up call: Monitoring and observation are key.

      Today's monitoring instruments are most certainly refined, of course, as technology has progressed. Accuracy has improved quite a bit, and information exchange in the age of the internet and digital communications has improved monitoring quite a bit.

      As for current monitoring technology, geophones that detect low-frequency tremors that indicate rising magma are now emplaced on the mountain and GPS clinometers measure surface deformation on the new dome and sides of the mountain. Regular flyovers also measure surface deformation with LIDAR, sense gas presense of carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds, and measure surface temperature.

      As for what "they" (the USGS is whom I presume you mean) plan to do, I imagine it is sit down and watch, issuing warnings if and when they are needed.

      Disclaimer: I am not a USGS employee, I'm a geek who considered a major in, but took a minor in Geology.
      • As for what "they" (the USGS is whom I presume you mean) plan to do, I imagine it is sit down and watch, issuing warnings if and when they are needed.

        I read a book about Mt. Rainier (or as we call it up here, "The Mountain") in which the story was told of a USGS person who had to lay low in Orting as the bearer of bad news. He had been trying to get people to prepare for the possibility of a lahar like the Electron, which went right through where Orting now is. They asked him, "What can we do?" He said, "
  • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:06AM (#11885058) Journal
    Our volcano is blasting stuff 25000 feet up.
    (it sounds more impressive if you use feet)
  • Here are some pictures taken today. They show the ash plume.

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/Images/M SH 04/framework.html
  • by TheWorkz ( 866187 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:12AM (#11885103)
    We did a video last year for the National Film Challenge which is a good depiction of what we thought an eruption should look like. :)
    www.fwstudios.com [fwstudios.com]
    It was a fun video to do and we did it in only about 60 hours. (that is, wrote, rehearsed, edited, and produced)
    -Luke
  • by SidV ( 800332 ) <slash@sidv-dot-org> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:12AM (#11885104)
    Damn Global Warming
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:13AM (#11885114) Journal
    If it were, God (tm) would have smited (smitten?) them already.

    Now, if they get consumed by a volcano, I'm just going to say it was random.

  • OMG!!!!1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by zephc ( 225327 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:13AM (#11885116)
    it's blowing red, blue, green and black ash EVERYWHERE!!!
  • By looking at the CBC site it appears they took the picture from Victoria, BC. Did anyone see it like that?
    • No, that picture was probably taken from Portland. If it had been taken from Victoria, BC you would be able to see the crater.

      Nathan
      • Re:Whoa! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by plog ( 816386 )
        If it had been taken from Victoria, BC you would be able to see the crater.

        Is that a typo? There is an impressive mountain range and a whole lotta horizon between BC and Mt. St. Helens. You can, however, see Mt Baker from Victoria, which puffs a little steam sometimes.

  • Mt Ruapehu, (vulcanocam [geonet.org.nz]) one of our vulcanos, became active for about a year in 1995/1996 and is now pregnant with a lahar [ew.govt.nz]. We're probably about a year away from birth. The event is highly anticipated, with special communication links set up so that the neighbours can know as soon as possible.

    (No disrespect for the victims of Tangiwai is intended by the light-hearted nature of this post.)
  • Just on CBC News (Score:3, Informative)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:22AM (#11885168) Homepage Journal
    CBC News [www.cbc.ca] just reported about 4000 small earthquakes about 200km off the west coast of Vancouver Island, none no more than 5.x on the Richter scale.

    They believe this may be related to the growth of a new underwater volcano, and hope to see it's initial erruption. This is almost certainly connected to the eruption at Mt. St. Helens, and I suspect related to the large earth quakes in south-east asia in December.
  • I saw it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:23AM (#11885176)
    I was flying home from SEA -> SJC this evening and saw the thing happen from 20,000 feet. The ash shot up and within a few minutes was at the same altitude as our still-climbing 737. Within a few minutes the ash was well above our altitude and the Captain came on and stated that it seemed to him to be well above 30,000 feet. Needless to say, we flew well clear of the plume.

    That being said, it was an amazing sight to see this huge jet of ash go so high, so quickly. The late afternoon sun lit it just right and I really wish I had had a camera.
  • I told helen to relax. But she wouldn't listen.

    I knew it was just a matter of time before she blew her top.

    Thank you, I'm hear each tuesday thru thursday.
  • Here it comes
    Here comes St. Helens
    It's a mountain that reels
    It's a mountain and it's gonna be blowin' up sometime.

    It's gainin' on you so you better look alive.
    It's busy revvin' up a powerful mud slide.

    And when the odds are against it
    And there's lava work to do
    You bet your life St. Helens
    Will see it through.

    Flee St. Helens
    Flee St. Helens
    Flee St. Helens, Flee!

  • Dupe! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:34AM (#11885235)
    This was reported 24 years ago!
  • The estate of Jackson Pollock should sue!
  • by CRepetski ( 824321 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:36AM (#11885250)
    In case you don't feel like hunting through the USGS website (there's some good stuff in there!) you can cut to the chase:

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/Eruption04 /Monitoring/plume_in_the_evening_8march05.html [usgs.gov]

    This has some pretty good photos, as well as a picture with (MS Paint?) editing describing what's what.

    The photos are taken from a remote camera on the mountain that takes a picture every 2.5 minutes. This is as good as it gets.

  • Not that exciting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth Cow ( 533706 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:56AM (#11885355)
    I live in Portland, Oregon, so I saw the eruption when it was taking place from my front porch.

    It really wasn't very exciting. It was just a bunch of smoke and steam, around the size of several a few months ago.

    Despite it being the sole story on the local news, nobody is going to die or even be injured. Nobody is going to care after tomorrow.

    The volcano is regrowing a lava dome, and the dome is increasing in size. There's no visible lava, or anything more than the normal pickup truck worth of rock that's been added to the dome every second since October.

    I don't get what the big deal is. It's a bit of smoke, that's all.
    • I disagree. . . (Score:2, Informative)

      by mazulauf ( 137196 )
      Hmmm, are you sure you were looking in the right direction?

      I live in Beaverton, and while I couldn't see the peak (hidden behind the West Hills), I could tell the plume was a _lot_ bigger than any of the others since it started up again.

      Plus, from what I've heard, the dome is growing at the rate of a dump truck load each second (gotta be an order of magnitude more than a pickup truck). If it keeps up at this rate, then the new dome will be peeking above the rim within a few years.

      That would be kind of a
  • by dhirsch226 ( 575367 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:13AM (#11885788)
    Months after the preliminary signs starting showing, Washington State's Mount St. Helens is sending a plume of steam and ash 7,600 metres into the air.

    It's incorrect to imply, as the posting does, that the earlier activity is "preliminary", and that now the real action is going to get going. We are, in all likelihood, in a dome-building phase. It will have natural variation, times of activity and times of quiescence, just as the volcanic system has on a geologic time scale. There is no reason to expect a large explosive event in the near future.

    -David Hirsch Asst. Professor of geology
  • Big Deal (Score:4, Funny)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:36AM (#11886361) Homepage
    I used to live in Texas... we saw things like this after every Chili cookoff!
  • VolcanoCam (Score:3, Funny)

    by ozbird ( 127571 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @06:16AM (#11886748)
    "This is a static image of Mount St. Helens, taken from the Johnston Ridge Observatory." (my emphasis.)

    Very funny - now turn the lights back on so we can see the volcano...
    Apart from the infrared glow from the lava flows last year, I've only even seen static from the camera in my timezone.

    I prefer the White Island Crater VolcanoCam - despite predictions of an acidic death [abc.net.au], Dino lives! [geonet.org.nz]
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @09:43AM (#11887684) Homepage
    I'm glad to hear that Steam got shot. It's a crappy palladium-lite as far as I'm concerned. Maybe now that it'd dead I'll get around to buying Half-Life 2.

    But Ash getting shot was great loss. You'd think that if he could survive the army of darkness, he could survive a volcano!

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