Image courtesy of USGS/CVO, taken March 8, 2005 from the Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, WA
For those of you looking for something to relax with and read this weekend, you could wander over to the USGS website and download yourself a copy (for free and legally) of “A Volcano Rekindled: the Renewed Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006″ (USGS Professional Paper 1750). The report comes in at a mere 872 pages (that’s 697 MB download for the whole report), but you can download the pieces that interest you most as well instead of the whole shebang.
Now, I haven’t read the whole thing, but I have had a chance to read preprints of some of the chapters (in particular Chapters 28, 31, 32 and 36) and while it is a technical paper, it does have a lot of information on the mechanisms of the eruption and our current knowledge of the magmatic system that drives St. Helens. The volcano is now considered to be back asleep, but this dome building episode will likely repeat many times in the future as the edifice rebuilds from 1980.
I’m excited that they finally got the paper out – nice job to the editors: David Sherrod, William Scott and Peter Stauffer. The volume itself was a collaboration between the USGS geologist at CVO and a multitude of geoscientists around the country and the world. Who knew that such a minor eruption of a Cascade volcano could produce so much fascinating research. Just imagine the number of volumes produced if Rainier erupts!