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Mount St. Helens - Natural disasters.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

All the below text is my own and has not been copied in bulk, except from page 15 onwards, and text in italic which is a definition. MOUNT ST HELENS Where is Mount St. Helens? Mount St Helens was 9,667 feet high volcano located at 46.20 N by 122.18 W in southwest Washington State, approximately a 3-hour drive from Seattle, 90 miles away and a 2.5 hour drive from Portland, Oregon 65 miles away. The volcano is in The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. On the North American plate, located near a convergent plate boundary. In an area called the cascades. I saw the volcano in the year 2000 when I went on a holiday around America. Formed from an earlier volcano that existed 25,000 years ago, but St. Helens is relatively new. In fact, younger than the pyramids of Egypt that are 4,000 years old Mount St Helens was a stratovolcano, made of layers of lava, pyroclastic deposits also known as tephras, and mudflow deposits. To the natives- The Sanpoil Indians the volcano was sacred; they had seen its previous eruptions. They had different names for the volcano, Some of the names given to the mountain were Lawelatla ("One From Whom Smoke Comes"), Louwala-Clough ("Smoking Mountain"), Tah-one-lat-clah ("Fire Mountain") and the most commonly used name today Loo-wit ("Keeper of the Fire"). The local tribes would not fish in Spirit Lake, believing the fish, with heads like bears, held the souls of the evilest people who had ever lived. They also believed the lake shores were populated by a band of rogue demons. Only young warriors out to prove their bravery dared climb to the timberline and spend the night. Later, legends claimed the evil spirits of the mountain were punishing the local tribes for allowing the white men to settle near them. The modern name comes from Captain George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy 1972, he spotted the peak from his ship discovery and named it in October 20, 1792 after his friend Alleyne Fitzherbert, who held the title Baron St. ...read more.

Middle

The USFS sent 30 moving vans to the St. Helens Ranger District compound to remove the personal possessions of 37 Forest Service employees who had been evacuated March 27. A Boston television producer was fired after airing an April Fool's Day story about a popular ski resort that had turned into a raging volcano. It included video footage of explosions from St. Helens. April 3 - Explosions sent plumes upwards from the crater almost hourly. Ash was reported in and near Tacoma, 70 miles to the north. Some plumes reached altitudes of 16 to 17,000 feet. The crater is now approximately 1500 feet wide and 300 feet deep. Seismometers recorded 6 earthquakes equal to or larger than magnitude 4.0, including one of magnitude 4.6. Two bursts of harmonic tremor were also recorded. Governor Dixie Lee Ray declared a State of Emergency and set up a "Mount St. Helens Watch Group." Local officials in Oregon and Washington issued pamphlets prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on "What to do during a volcano ash fall." Tourists continue to flock to Mount St. Helens. Milepost 33 on State Route 504 has turned into a popular area with volcano watchers. According to a report in The Oregonian, a Weyerhaeuser logging supervisor said his employees were just as curious as the tourists,"...our attendance record (on the job) has been better than ever since the mountain blew. They may be nervous, but this way they can come and gawk." According to later reports in several local newspapers, a Skykomish, WA, man apparently evaded roadblocks and reached the summit of St. Helens on foot. The FAA reported 109 planes inside the restricted zone. April 4 - Explosions continued with some plumes reaching altitudes of 16,000 feet. Two more episodes of harmonic tremor and 5 earthquakes with magnitudes larger than 4.0 were recorded. Approximately two to three earthquakes of magnitude 3 or 4 were recorded each hour. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fifty days have passed since the first explosion (March 27), yet there has been no sign of fresh magma in the ash. Continued activity has attracted tourists from around the world. Many congregated at roadblocks for picnicking, socializing, or waiting for the clouds to clear. Three workers were flown in to evacuate equipment from the YMCA and Boy Scout camps on Spirit Lake. May 16 - No explosions were reported. There were 28 earthquakes larger than magnitude 3.0 recorded, including 10 larger than 4.0. There have been no records of harmonic tremor since May 8. Steam continued to emanate from the summit area. Portions of the upper reaches of the bulging north flank were also steaming. The shape of the volcano has changed considerably during the past 10 days. The north and northwest rims of the crater have abundant cracks that are partially filled with snow and ash. The area appears to be moving downward as a mass toward the crater. The bulge continued to appear highly broken and distorted. Before dawn Department of Energy personnel made an aerial infrared survey. The data were not immediately available for interpretation. Glaciologists placed a time-lapse camera on Dogs Head aimed at the growing bulge. Owners of private property in the Red Zone demanded access to homes and cabins they were forced to leave weeks ago. Some threatened to converge on the roadblocks in numbers and go through "come hell or high water." The National Weather Service predicted good weather for volcano watching for the coming weekend. May 17 - The mountain remained quiet. Seismic activity reached the lowest level for May, with only 18 earthquakes larger than 3.0 recorded (including 6 larger than magnitude 4.0). In response to pressure from property owners and with the Governor's consent, law enforcement officials escorted about 50 carloads of property owners into the Red Zone to retrieve possessions. Those who entered were required to sign liability waivers at the roadblocks and to leave by nightfall. Authorities agreed to allow another caravan of property owners in at 10:00 a.m. the following morning. 1 ...read more.

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