2014 study of St Helens magma system will be among worlds largest

first_imgUpgrades to equipment aim to get a pulse on Mount St. HelensResearchers are setting the stage for an ambitious project in 2014 to investigate the system of magma flow underneath Mount St. Helens.The National Science Foundation has already announced grants to several institutions for the study, but it will take about two years to set up the field work, said Vancouver scientist Seth Moran.“It will be one of the biggest multi-disciplinary volcano imaging experiments in the world,” said Moran, a U.S. Geological Surveyseismologist with the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver. “One or two are being studied pretty thoroughly; this is the first one in the U.S.”The three-year project will use several geological and geophysical investigation techniques featuring more than 3,000 seismic instruments — some of them arrayed dozens of miles from the peak.The title of the NSF grant hints at the research goals: “Illuminating the Architecture of the Greater Mount St. Helens Magmatic System from Slab to Surface.”“The ‘slab’ is the Juan de Fuca Plate. That is the engine providing all the energy for earthquakes” in this region, Moran explained. “The fluids coming from that slab are driving the vulcanism” in the Cascades.last_img read more