On 36th anniversary of eruption, Mount St. Helens remains a draw - KPTV - FOX 12

On 36th anniversary of eruption, Mount St. Helens remains a draw for visitors, scientists

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Thirty-six years after Mount St. Helens erupted, the volcano continues to draw hikers and visitors who want to explore and learn about the volcano.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory was packed with students on field trips and visitors who came to hear from scientists giving presentations on the 36th anniversary of the eruption.

The volcano remains a draw for scientists because it is accessible and still active.

In addition to small, shallow earthquakes that occur beneath the mountain nearly every day, unusual earthquake activity was recently detected.

A series of earthquakes, known as a swarm, starting occurring much deeper underneath the mountain in March.

Scientists have interpreted the swarm as magma recharging the system from below. This has happened three times in the last few decades, said Ken Creager, a professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington

“It kind of gives a little bit of a clue about how and when it recharges. Beyond that, not a whole lot, it doesn’t tell us much about when it is going to erupt. It has to recharge before it can erupt,” he said. “But it doesn’t seem to tell us anything about the timing.”

It is unrelated to a recent swarm of earthquakes on Mount Hood. Swarms happen on Mount Hood once or twice a year, according to the USGS.

Creager is one of the researchers studying magma systems beneath Mount St. Helens.

They hope the information they gather will help them interpret future volcanic activity.

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