Speed Reads


Magma levels rising, but Mount St. Helens is not likely to erupt soon

Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

There is some mild earthquake activity and signs of long-term uplift on Mount St. Helens, scientists announced on Wednesday, but they do not believe that the Washington State volcano will blow anytime soon. Mount St. Helens' massive 1980 eruption scattered its peak across the Pacific Northwest.

"This is giving long-term [data] that it's getting ready to erupt again, but it could be decades before it does something again," Seth Moran, a volcano seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Associated Press. "It's getting ready but it's not there."

The magma reservoir beneath the volcano has been slightly re-pressurizing since 2008, the USGS said in a statement. That's likely being caused by a small amount of additional magma, two to five miles under the surface. The recharging is "probably what Mount St. Helens does," Moran said. "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."