Big news concerning Mount St. Helens this week. Researchers in Anchorage said today that new magma is rising underneath and is pushing the volcano upward and outward. How far is it pushing? About a finger tip. Remember, things tend to happen a bit slowly in the geology world. I know Tommy Lee Jones would have you think differently.

Here’s the details from Seth Moran, a seismologist with the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington State. Magma began to gather about 2.5 – 3 miles below the volcano in 2008. A similar magma build up happened in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The magma buildup has caused a slow “re-pressurizing since 2008” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS went on to say such events are common in active volcanoes, but does not indicate “the volcano will erupt anytime soon.”

“This is probably what Mount St. Helens does,” Seth Moran, a volcano seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told the Associated Press. “It may stay perched at ready stage for a long time before it starts to erupt. The reassuring thing is: when it’s really ready to erupt, it gives lots and lots of signs.”

Scientists will remain vigilant in their monitoring of Mount St. Helens. But, it’ll probably be decades before another major eruption occurs.

A “large debris avalanche nor a major lateral blast like those of May 18, 1980 is likely now that deep crater has formed” according to the USGS.

Interested in learning more about Mount St. Helens? Check out the USGS page on the volcano.

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