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Bulletin of Volcanology

, 77:89 | Cite as

The 2004–2008 dome-building eruption at Mount St. Helens, Washington: epilogue

  • Daniel DzurisinEmail author
  • Seth C. Moran
  • Michael Lisowski
  • Steve P. Schilling
  • Kyle R. Anderson
  • Cynthia Werner
Research Article

Abstract

The 2004–2008 dome-building eruption at Mount St. Helens ended during winter 2007–2008 at a time when field observations were hampered by persistent bad weather. As a result, recognizing the end of the eruption was challenging—but important for scientists trying to understand how and why long-lived eruptions end and for public officials and land managers responsible for hazards mitigation and access restrictions. In hindsight, the end of the eruption was presaged by a slight increase in seismicity in December 2007 that culminated on January 12–13, 2008, with a burst of more than 500 events, most of which occurred in association with several tremor-like signals and a spasmodic burst of long-period earthquakes. At about the same time, a series of regular, localized, small-amplitude tilt events—thousands of which had been recorded during earlier phases of the eruption—came to an end. Thereafter, seismicity declined to 10–20 events per day until January 27–28, when a spasmodic burst of about 50 volcano-tectonic earthquakes occurred over a span of 3 h. This was followed by a brief return of repetitive “drumbeat” earthquakes that characterized much of the eruption. By January 31, however, seismicity had declined to 1–2 earthquakes per day, a rate similar to pre-eruption levels. We attribute the tilt and seismic observations to convulsive stagnation of a semisolid magma plug in the upper part of the conduit. The upward movement of the plug ceased when the excess driving pressure, which had gradually decreased throughout the eruption as a result of reservoir deflation and increasing overburden from the growing dome, was overcome by increasing friction as a result of cooling and crystallization of the plug.

Keywords

Mount St. Helens Lava dome Seismicity Deformation Tilt GPS Gas emission 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Don Swanson, Chris Newhall, and an anonymous reviewer provided helpful reviews that improved the final product considerably. Support for this research was provided by the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program through the USGS Volcano Science Center and David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

Supplementary material

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445_2015_973_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (30.3 mb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Dzurisin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Seth C. Moran
    • 1
  • Michael Lisowski
    • 1
  • Steve P. Schilling
    • 1
  • Kyle R. Anderson
    • 2
  • Cynthia Werner
    • 1
  1. 1.USGS Cascades Volcano ObservatoryVancouverUSA
  2. 2.USGS California Volcano ObservatoryMenlo ParkUSA

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