A New Volcano Inside the Old
“As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;”
Many people know about the devastating and explosive eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980. Not so many people know that the volcano has erupted since then, but in less spectacular fashion.
Throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, lava continued to appear in the crater, with a dome of lava growing in the middle of the crater. On October 11th 2004, magma once again erupted from the volcano, causing a new lava dome to grow rapidly south of the existing dome. Many unusual but temporary shapes were formed, such as a large lava formation called the “whaleback”. On July 2nd 2005, the pressure of the magma resulted in an eruption, which broke the whaleback, and sent ash into the air, visible from Seattle. A number of other eruptions occurred during the period from 2004 through 2008. On July 10th 2008, there had been no activity for six months, so the US Geological Survey officially concluded that this eruptive period was over. There has been no significant eruptive activity since then.
The lava dome is now quite big. The summit of the lava dome is currently about 7,500 feet above sea level, so it is still below the 8,300 foot high crater walls. However, if the dome grows any larger, it could grow above the crater rim. Basically, the lava dome is a new volcano growing inside the ruins of the old one. It already takes up 6% of the space lost by the big 1980 eruption.
One thing is clear. Once again, even in less spectacular fashion, Mount St Helens has proved that the surface of the Earth can change rapidly at times, and that changes do not require millions of years.
Prayer: Father God, You continue to witness to the truth of Your word, through natural occurrences worldwide, and especially at Mount St Helens. We pray that we might be faithful in pointing people, therefore, to the truth of Your word. Amen.
Ref: Wikipedia, < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004%E2%80%9308_volcanic_activity_of_Mount_St._Helens >. Image: USGS, Public Domain.
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