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Mount St. Helens Alert Status Increased

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the experience-is-the-best-teacher dept.

United States 600

DarkHand writes "Mount St. Helens has become even more unstable in the last few hours. The U.S. Geological Surveys Cascades Volcano Observatory has increased the volcanic alert around the volcano to level 2 and released a press release: 'Over night, seismic activity at Mount St. Helens has accelerated significantly, which increases our level of concern that current unrest could culminate in an eruption. We are increasing the alert level to the second of three levels [...]. Earthquakes are occurring at about four per minute. The largest events are approaching Magnitude 2.5 and they are becoming more frequent. All are still at shallow levels in and below the lava dome that grew in the crater between 1980 and 1986. This suggests that the ongoing intense earthquake activity has weakened the dome, increasing the likelihood of explosions or perhaps the extrusion of lava from the dome.' The most recent readings at the SEP seismograph stationed on the lava dome itself are totally saturated. The ground is now literally constantly rumbling."

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To quote Counter-Strike: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393552)

"Get outta there, it's gonna blow!"

Exciting! (-1, Offtopic)

samsmithnz (702471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393556)

I love Volcanos... but then I live on the East coast so they won't directly affect me :).

Re:Exciting! (1, Funny)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393645)

I love hurricanes ... but then I live in the midwest so they won't directly affect me :).

Re:Exciting! (1)

SFBwian (744032) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393712)

I love tornadoes... but then I live on the east coa--Oh shit, we're back where we started.

Re:Exciting! (-1, Troll)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393696)

I really wish it would errupt. That would be awesome. I too live in the East :)

Blow, blow, blow.

REM fans unite (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393559)

.. if only to shout "Leonard Bernstein" at this point.

Re:REM fans unite (3, Informative)

mrgrey (319015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393761)

Lyrics... Though I did like the way David Spade and Chris Farley sang it better...

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane -
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn -
world serves its own needs, don't misserve your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt no, strength no. Ladder structure clatter with fear of height,
down height. Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for
hire and a combat site. Left her, wasn't coming in a hurry with the furies
breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered
crop. Look at that low plane! Fine then. Uh oh, overflow, population,
common group, but it'll do. Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its
own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the
reverent in the right - right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright
light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn,
return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning,
blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle,
light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament,
a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide. Mount St. Edelite.
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic,
slam, but neck, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine...fine...

yarr (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393563)

yarr

pist frost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393570)

frist psot?

Scary, yet cool. (5, Funny)

methangel (191461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393572)

All of these hurricanes, tornadoes earthquakes, floods, and now volcano eruptions...when do the plagues and locusts start happening?

Re:Scary, yet cool. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393593)

How does HIV and West Nile mosquitoes sound?

Re:Scary, yet cool. (4, Informative)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393616)

Unless you're old or have a very weak imune system West Nile just causes flu like symptoms for a few days..

Plagues and locusts are the least of our problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393649)

The presidential debate season begins tonight

Re:Scary, yet cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393708)

All of these hurricanes, tornadoes earthquakes, floods, and now volcano eruptions...when do the plagues and locusts start happening?

They'll keep coming until bush is gone.

fleas ... (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393748)

All of these hurricanes, tornadoes earthquakes, floods, and now volcano eruptions...when do the plagues and locusts start happening?

We got lotsa fleas around here ... I think I'd prefer locusts ...

Re:Scary, yet cool. (1)

Nishal (636649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393796)

yeah it is a bit odd that in this election year we have the wrath of god stuff.........c'mon we cant get dubbya near washington right now? tell him saddam ,osama, or wmd are there, he will come running

Re:Scary, yet cool. (1, Funny)

zev1983 (792397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393816)

Florida was punished for the 2000 election. Washington is being punished for Microsoft.

Dante II (4, Funny)

ancice (817863) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393573)

Do people still remember the show Dante's Peak? It had a real cool legged robot which went into the volcano to collect samples. Wonder if these cool and useful machines are still being used or is everything remote sensing now?

Re:Dante II (2, Informative)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393715)

Wonder if these cool and useful machines are still being used or is everything remote sensing now?

I can't remember if they actually ever used those (I really don't think so, I think the show used them because they are "cool"), but since right now they are interested mainly in seismic and gas, not rock samples and such, it's the remote sensors...

memo to self (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393574)

Memo to self: Don't live anywhere near an active volcano.

Re:memo to self (5, Funny)

dykofone (787059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393689)

From the article: GPS instrument on the lava dome...suggest that the site moved a few inches northward Monday and Tuesday.

Looks like you also have to be sure you don't live in the path of an active volcano. At that rate Mount St. Helens could reach Canada in a few thousand years!

Re:memo to self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393813)

Looks like you also have to be sure you don't live in the path of an active volcano.

Damn, and I just booked a vacation to British Columbia in the early 84th century. The rates are just fantastic when you reserve in advance.

If only... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393579)

I could find a way to make Micro$oft seem responsible...

Re:If only... (1)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393749)

Well, where do you think I've been dumping all my old MS install disks? I shoulda guessed that the volcano wouldn't like them either...

How severe? (3, Interesting)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393580)

What I don't get out of any of the reports I've read is how severe of an eruption is possible here. Could it be massive like the big one that blew the side off of the mountain or are we in for a little puff (or as little as little can be on a volcanic scale)? Or do they just not know?

-S

Re:How severe? (5, Informative)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393706)

Seismologists are expecting anywhere from nothing at all (not uncommon following an earthquake swarm, happens at Kilaeua from time to time), to a moderate event.

By comparison, the 1980 blast was a catastrophic event. A medium strength earthquake caused the entire north face of the mountain to crumble in a massive rockslide, which also uncorked the pressure on the magma underneath, resulting in a huge lateral explosion through the rock slide. Imagine a wall of rocks coming at you at 300mph. It's doubtful that something like that will happen again in our lifetimes.

Re:How severe? (4, Informative)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393719)

OK, I haven't done any geology in over two decades, so take this with a grain salt, but my understanding is that one of the reasons that the "big one" was so big was that St. Helens had not erupted for centuries and the top of the lava tube was blocked like a giant zit. When enough pressure finally built up to blow the cap off, it threw crap everywhere. That would indicate that the currently forecasted eruption is unlikely to be as large, although it could still be a significant event.

Prank Volcano (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393730)

There will be a big white flag coming out of the crater reading "BOOM!" any minute now...

Curious (-1, Offtopic)

faragon (789704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393582)

1. Volcano
2. Shake it up babe
3. Profit!

Curious (1)

reactor_man (817316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393642)

I know Folorida pissed some higher being off, Butwhat did the state of washington do ? But seriously, how many eruptions has this volcano had since say 0 AD? Is this a trend towards moe frequent eruptions in the area?

*spoiler alert* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393586)

KABOOM!

hack the planet! (1)

jaredbpd (144090) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393592)

Someone ought to send DJ Qualls in there to fix it. Just make sure he doesn't get stuck inside a geode.

I have to wonder (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393608)

Is Mount St. Helens running any Windows-based products? Sounds like they need new patches.

Not to be gross... (4, Funny)

The Queen (56621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393609)

...but I've always thought of volcanos as Mother Earth's acne.

As I was watching Katie Couric interview one of the scientists this morning, I just kept thinking that these guys are all waiting for this big head to pop so they can collect measurements on the pus.

Sorry, kinda icky, but these are my thoughts. Mod down if you have a weak stomach.

Re:Not to be gross... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393671)

Watching Katie Couric...that sure is gross.
As for the volcano: diligaf, I live in the east.

Re:Not to be gross... (1)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393722)

Sorry, kinda icky, but these are my thoughts.

I've kind of thought that too. I'd hate to see the size of the tube of Oxy needed to get the swelling down.

I wonder if dematology metaphors and analogies for the Earth's crust are popular with Gaians and other New Age types?

The situation is clear (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393615)

Washington possesses weapons of mass destruction. They must disarm immediately or face regime change.

Do you want the first warning to be a mushroom cloud over Washington State Park?

Frist pSot. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393623)

Fanat1c Jknown

Ahh, this is the life (5, Funny)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393624)

I'm sick of all these damn hurricanes, honey. Where else can we live?

I want to get as far away from this place as possible. How about Washington?

Works for me, let's go!

I suggest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393670)

Moving to a country that God is not punishing.

What the press release doesn't say: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393627)

Earthquakes are occurring at about four per minute.

And Minas Morgul is giving answer.

Well, that settles it... (0)

MmmmAqua (613624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393643)

... the Army really is looking out for my best interests. Here I thought they sent me to Iraq because, due to the "Rumsfeld doctrine" (horseshit), the Army found itself drastically short-handed. Turns out they just wanted me to be safe from the volcano I live next to!

Wait, my family...

Damn. Excuse me while I extract this big green phallus from somewhere intensely personal.

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (5, Informative)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393650)

Hmm. I was hoping to see a live volcano eruption here [fs.fed.us] , but it seems
not to be broadcasting now. Anyone knows why/what's happening ?

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (2, Informative)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393709)

It's probably cloudy up at that elevation. It was like that yesterday until about mid-after noon when the clouds began to burn off.

http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/archive/ (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393810)

It probably is the clouds ... the cam can't see through fog or clouds, and cannot compensate for low light-conditions...

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393720)

The camera is actually working, but it is currently dark here in the NW and there is a lot of cloud cover on the mountain too.

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393734)

Dont watch it for too long or when the cammera start broadcasting again there will be an ant really close to the lense making the ant look over 10 feet tall scaring everyone who watches. On the news that night, all the anchors will say I for one welcome our new invading overlords.

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393753)

Hmm I say it's an alien contact situation. I'm not paranoid I've seen close encounters of the third kind.

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (5, Funny)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393774)

seems not to be broadcasting now. Anyone knows why...

Yeah, you just /.ed it.

Re:Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam (2, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393783)

It could one of two things; Either the volcano's emitting a hallucingenic purple fog or it's a foggy dawn. I can't say for certain which one of the two it is.

Live volcano cam (2, Informative)

cpaluc (559921) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393660)

http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/ It looks pretty grim. (Is it dark @ 6:30am @ MSH?)

No... (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393740)

Sunrise was at 6:07.. as I said above.. It's probably cloudy at that elevation... or it's raining :)

A wonderful place to visit (4, Interesting)

Cade144 (553696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393664)

I was there about ten years ago, with a college field trip. Being from the Midwest, I haddn't seen any real volcanos until then. I was looking forward to seeing the terrific devistation and other formations left by the 1980 eruptions.
While driving up the windy mountin road to get to the park, our van turned a bend, and suddenly I saw before me a swath of devistation so utterly complete that I knew only some tremendous force could have removed all the trees and other signs of life.
I asked the "vetrans" of the group if we had reached the blast zone already. They responded: "Nope, that's just a clearcut. The blast zone now has much more wildlife."
Ah well. I was just there to look at the rocks anyway.

Related to California Quake a few days ago? (5, Interesting)

J-bob2 (219807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393688)

I couldn't help but wonder if the two are related? Is Mt. St. Helens related to the the quake in California on Tuesday? They're in that same general fault line aren't they?

Can anyone who knows more about Earth Science help me out here?

Updated news for my post (0)

DarkHand (608301) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393691)

More info to add in the last few hours to my post. According to the most recent seismograph readings, it now seems that Mount Rainer [washington.edu] is showing signs of activity as well.

Re:Updated news for my post (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393735)

How is that different than the normal activity?

On the their page they say... "In an average month, 1-5 well-located, high-frequency earthquakes are recorded near the summit of Mt. Rainier. In addition, small swarms of 5-10 earthquakes over a 2-3-day time period sometimes occur. All of these earthquakes are shallow, with most locating near sea level (~4 km below the summit), and are interpreted by Moran (1997) to be occurring in response to stresses associated with the circulation of hot fluids beneath Mount Rainier. These fluids are thought to be the source for the hot springs and steam vents found at the summit and at various points within Mount Rainier National Park (e.g. Frank, 1995)."

saturated (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393694)

The most recent readings at the SEP seismograph stationed on the lava dome itself are totally saturated.

And with our help, their servers will be saturated, too.

Some people (3, Interesting)

deathcloset (626704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393698)

I was three years old when St. Helens blew in 1980 (anyone feel old yet?).

Our family lived in Northern Idaho, and my father likes to recount how the hardware store was full of people buying masks and resperators and whatnot. He tells of how the supermarket was jam-packed with people stockpiling for the apocalypse.

He was getting a little nervous, but on his drive home he saw our neighbor (we lived out in the country), a farmer named Mr.Coon, just trolling about on his tractor under the bloody sun and darkened sky;doing his daily work, acting like it was just another day.

My father was then able to relax a bit.

Re:Some people (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393765)

i was too, but i lived on the east coast. later on i moved to seattle.

i found this vial of ash in an abandoned house once where i grew up, labelled "MT ST HELENS, 1980". i thought it was pretty neat.

I was born while it was erupting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393699)

I was born in Tacoma Washington while the volcano was erupting, which has earned me a lot of jokes along the lines of "You sure came into the world with a bang." Now that it may erupt again I wonder if that is a good luck sign for me or bad. Since it erupted when I was born will its next eruption be an omen of my death? I just started medical school, so maybe since the previous eruption signified the beginning of my life this eruption will signify the beginning of my professional life.

Or maybe I think too much. :P

The end is near (5, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393717)

By an interesting coincidence, I was born near Mt. St. Helens during the first eruption. Yes...as I was delivered from the womb, the city was covered with ash and filled with the sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth *cough* I mean, sweeping and washing of streets.

Maybe with this next eruption, instead of merely being born, I'll actually get a life.

Due to severe slashdot effect... (4, Funny)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393718)

...our scientists are no longer able to monitor and analyze any vulcanic activity online.
Folks: you're on your own.

Alert Levels (5, Funny)

F7F7NoYes (740722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393725)

Have we positively ruled out terrorism as a cause of this seismic activity at this point?

Re:Alert Levels (3, Funny)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393807)

Not yet. In fact, certain congressional Democrats are "very concerned" that putting out these volcano warnings are just Republican scare-tactics. John Kerry (D-Mass) issued a statement this morning saying "Mt. St. Helens is angry, because the earth is angry at President Bush's failed environmental policies .."

Someone take pictures of the near area before (3, Interesting)

invisik (227250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393732)

Having never been there myself, it would be cool to see before and after shots of the area in the event of an eruption. Any one out there listening?

-m

Re:Someone take pictures of the near area before (2, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393805)

The before & after shots of the 1980 eruption were nothing short of stuning. They had a slow motion film at school that also was amazing.

So hopefully this potential eruption will be better covered and less harmful.

oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393741)

I guess I should put off moving to Seattle then, eh?

/. pwns you (3, Funny)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393742)

Google news summary:
News results for mount st. helens - View today's top stories
Mount St. Helens Alert Status Increased - Slashdot - 9 minutes ago
Experts Predict Mount St. Helens Eruption - ABC News - 10 minutes ago

Yes, that's right. /. beat ABC news to the story. Take that!

Re:/. pwns you (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393773)

Uhm, 10 minutes ago is *before* 9 minutes ago. Do I need to draw you a diagram?

Re:/. pwns you (-1)

benito27uk (646600) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393800)

Haven't you got it the wrong way round? ABC posted their story a minute before /. not a minute after.

Re:/. pwns you (3, Funny)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393817)

*hangs his head*
Serves me right for trying to score some karma points when I've been awake for 10 minutes.

Breaking News... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10393751)

Bush declares the volcano part of the "Axis of Lava", declares "War on Volcanos" and sends bombers to the area to eliminate the threat.

Nothing to worry about! (0, Flamebait)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393768)

It's just Mother Nature shaking up her chocolate milk.

Quake Depths (2, Informative)

unknowns (799192) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393770)

Here are a few plots [washington.edu] that show the recent earthquakes vs. depth and location.

I think they color the recent quakes red to scare the bejesus out of everyone, but the average depth over the past month is still much closer to the surface than normal.

VolcanoCam is slashdotted (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393797)

"The file you requested is temporarily unavailable. Please check back in a few minutes."

Let the "the server melted" and "I guess they needed a better firewall" jokes begin...

Media coverage... (2, Interesting)

Aceto3for5 (806224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393812)

You know that news outlets around the country are hard at work making the on screen volcano graphics, lining up siesmologists, and all the siesmologists are picking out ties to look nice for TV. News writers are looking up lava, volcano, and erupt in the thesaurus. I dunno, maybe im too cynical for my own good. I cant help but think, people die in these sort of things. It is interesting scientifically, and historically, but if I see one flashy graphic on fox or msnbc like "Fire in the hole", "Go with the flow", or "Magma-nificent" Im gonna go back to reading books.

Be afraid if the volcanoes ever stop (4, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393829)

Subduction zones (like those off the west coast of America) and volcanoes (such as St. Helens) are a big part of the long-term carbon cycle of the planet [ucla.edu] . Left to its own, life and chemical processes on this planet would convert all the atmospheric carbon into calcium carbonate that would be trapped in rock on the bottom of the ocean. Subduction zones and volcanoes reprocess this rock into CO2.

Once the Earth's crust cools enough, it will lock up and stop the cycle and CO2 will inexorable drop in concentration. I can't remember when this is predicted to happen, but I believe it is scheduled to occur before the Sun becomes a red giant. Of course, I'm sure our descendants (assuming we have them) will invent their own C02 extract factories to keep the Earth nicely carbonated when the time comes.

You think Mt. St. Helens was big... (5, Interesting)

RCulpepper (99864) | more than 9 years ago | (#10393834)

Google 'Yellowstone volcano.' In one of the two or three times I favored my intro to geology class with my presence, my professor explained that much of Yellowstone National Park is the caldera of a giant volcano, according to him the largest on earth, hence the geysers and sulfurous springs. If it were to erupt again -- fortunately it does so rarely, about once every 600k years -- it would cover most of the Western US in ash and if it did so without warning, would kill millions of people.
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