Mount St. Helens Could Erupt Again As Magma Reserves Found Underneath

Posted: Nov 10 2015, 10:36pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Mount St. Helens Could Erupt Again as Magma Reserves Found Underneath
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Magma reserves have been found underneath Mount St. Helens. These in a way constitute the plumbing system of the volcano.

The magma chambers beneath Mount St. Helens are quite extensive. It also happens to be the most active volcano in all of the Pacific Northwest region. There appears to be a giant magma reservoir some 5 to 12 kilometers beneath the volcano.

In fact there is a second one that lies at an even greater depth. These two chambers are linked to each other and this very fact may lend us some valuable clues as to how the volcanic activity of Mount St. Helens actually takes place.

The explosive eruption that took place at the beginning of the 80s virtually blew away the covering of the fiery volcano. That too can be explained via this new discovery of deep reservoirs of magma beneath the volcano. As of now, the picture of the volcano is one of two-dimensional proportions.

Were the magma chambers to lead off towards the northern or southern regions, that might lend credence to the thesis that the volcanic eruptions are extensive in nature. The distribution is definitely spread out rather than limited.

Looks like what lies beneath is far more than meets the naked eye. Just like an iceberg, the major portion of which lies underneath the water, the vast reservoirs of Mount St. Helens are invisible and lie within its subterranean depths. The results were presented on the 3rd of November at the Geological Society of America.

The images of the underbelly of the volcano show that the guts and viscera of the erupting phenomenon are a whole network of reservoirs that defy the imagination. The project began last year and over 2500 seismometers were implanted beneath the volcano for research purposes.

The various experiments that got carried out lent valuable clues. The explosive shots that were detonated also provided a whole lot of information on the natural activity of the volcano.

"We can only now understand that those earthquakes are connecting those magma reservoirs," said Rice University seismologist Eric Kiser. "They could be an indication that you have migration of fluid between the two bodies."

The shock waves that traveled through the length of the underground networks showed different speeds depending upon whether there were magma chambers present in the region or not.

The area was thus mapped out in accordance with the pattern and activity of the shock waves. The deep chambers beneath the volcano may also be supplying their materials to other volcano in the vicinity.

This has definitely intrigued geologists. A greater understanding of how the fiery eruptions work may lead to timely future precautions for the inhabitants that live closeby.

The findings of this study were reported at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore, Maryland.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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