Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Portland, Oregon – A cloud of white steam and ash rose as high as 36,000 feet from Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington at 5:27 p.m. PST today. The eruption was visible from the Portland metropolitan area in the neighbouring state of Oregon, causing traffic slowdowns as commuters slowed to watch the spectacle. News helicopters have shown photos of lava emerging inside the crater. Although the eruption was mostly over by 6:07 p.m. PST, an ashfall advisory until 9:00 p.m. PST has been announced for communities around the mountain.

The volcano has been building a new dome in its crater in recent months and causing tremors. It seems to have done enough damage to knock out at least two of the seismometers operated on its dome by the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network, although this could be the result of either damage to the seismometers themselves, or their telemetry equipment.

The volcano is most famous for its dramatic eruption in 1980 which killed 57 people and blew the top off the mountain.