After a flurry of earthquakes struck near several dormant volcanoes three days ago (May 15, 2015), and after we saw specific movement at Glacier Peak Volcano in Washington State, now reports surface that new seismic monitoring equipment is going to be installed on Glacier Peak Volcano specifically to watch for new eruption threats.
Watch the video report on the Glacier Peak volcano earthquake here:
See the full report on the earthquake which struck Glacier Peak Volcano here:
Geologists: Hidden Cascades volcano may pose a threat
“SEATTLE — Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people.
Mount Rainier is considered the world’s most dangerous volcano because of its size and how close it is to the population centers of Tacoma and Seattle.
But there’s another mountain you’ve probably never seen that’s getting attention for the risks it poses to the Seattle area.
Unlike most of the volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains that are viewable from Interstate 5 or even Seattle, few people notice Glacier Peak. It lurks within in the northern Cascades in Snohomish County and has a record of violent, even extreme eruptions.
Jim Vallance a geologist at the Cascades Volcano Observatory, was a young field assistant on Mount St. Helens in the wake of the 1980 eruption. He remembers doing field work on St. Helens in 1979.
“It was quiet. You may remember if you were an old timer in the Northwest, that Spirit Lake was a blue body of water with cabins all around,” said Vallance. “That all changed dramatically in 1980.”
“As impressive as it was, Mount St. Helens was actually hundreds of feet shorter than Glacier Peak,” Vallance points out. “The summit is right here.”
Now his role at the observatory is dedicated to understanding Glacier Peak.
Every year’s brief field season is on foot or with the help of pack mules to bring out more samples that lead to more understanding.
“I’m working on a giant four-dimensional puzzle. I’m trying to work out what happened in the past, when did it happen and how often,” said Vallance.
When a volcano’s glaciers melt during an eruption, it picks up massive amounts of fine dirt and debris. It becomes what’s called a lahar.
In the case of Glacier Peak, the geological record shows lahars reaching as far away as Mount Vernon, Burlington, Stanwood and Puget Sound by following the Skagit and Stillaguamish rivers.
But while some mountains, including St. Helens and Rainier, are heavily wired with sensors, there is but one lone seismometer on the west flank of Glacier Peak. That’s about to change.
Next year, four boxes, each packed with a sensitive seismometer, global positioning antennas and other sensors, will be installed on Glacier Peak. The seismometers can tip off scientists to the first faint signals that magma is on the move.
“Most typical quakes around volcanoes are very small, very low magnitude,” said Ben Pauk, a geophysicist who works with sensing technologies.
Then, as seen in the buildup to a 2004 eruption on Mount St. Helens, the quakes are constant.
“It’s going to generate what’s called volcanic tremor. So the ground is just constantly shaking,” said Pauk. “And that gives us a really good indication of what type of eruption is going to occur.”
Global positioning antennas measure when the mountain is actually starting to swell.
When could an eruption on Glacier Peak occur? There’s no telling, said Vance, remembering that summer of 1979, when Mount St. Helens seemed so quiet.
“It could be this year or a thousand years,” he said.”