Mount St. Helens' new dome is growing fast

24 November 2004 | 11:46 Code : 4494 Geoscience events
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If lava continues to pile up inside the blasted crater of Mount St. Helens at the current rate, the volcano could rebuild its summit in about 10 years.Geologists say it's unlikely the current furious lava production will continue.

If lava continues to pile up inside the blasted crater of Mount St. Helens at the current rate, the volcano could rebuild its summit in about 10 years.Geologists say it's unlikely the current furious lava production will continue. But it's possible the volcano will erupt sporadically during the next 20 to 50 years or more and gradually regain its former height, said Willie Scott, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash."We've been having an eruption constantly for more than a month. Dome growth can go on for weeks, months, years or decades. The possibilities are endless," Scott said. Mount St. Helens blew apart in May 1980, killing 57 people and covering the region with gritty ash. The mountain now measures 8,364 feet, down from 9,677 feet. But scientists say the new lava dome and the uplifted floor beneath it now cover 70 acres and the dome stands 750 feet high. That's as tall as Seattle's 55-story Washington Mutual Tower.

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