Report on St. Helens (United States) — 25 January-31 January 2006

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 January-31 January 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on St. Helens (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 January-31 January 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continued during 24-31 January, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash. On 24 January a shallow M 2.7 earthquake triggered a rockfall from the new lava dome, generating an ash plume that filled the crater before dissipating and drifting N over the pumice plain. Initial analysis of recent photographs from fixed cameras in the crater showed that the top of the currently active part of the new lava dome was at an elevation of ~2,240 m a.s.l., which is about 90 meters higher than it was in early November 2005. St Helens remained at Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2); aviation color code Orange.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Source: US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO)