SEATTLE, May 7 (UPI) — Scientist said a number of low-magnitude earthquakes taking place beneath Mount St. Helens could be the result of the volcano slowly recharging.
More than 130 earthquakes have been detected in the area around the volcano since March 14, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The largest quake measured a magnitude of 1.3 with most having magnitudes of 0.5 or less.
The USGS said Mount St. Helen is likely recharging its magma chamber, causing stress on the earth’s crust and producing small earthquakes.
“There is absolutely no sign that it will erupt anytime soon, but the data we collect tells us that the volcano is still very much alive,” the USGS said.
Mount St. Helens has been one of the most heavily monitored volcanoes in the world since its catastrophic eruption in 1980. The USGS has tracked similar patterns with the volcano throughout the years since then.
“The current pattern of seismicity is similar to swarms seen at Mount St. Helens in 2013 and 2014; recharge swarms in the 1990s had much higher earthquake rates and energy release,” scientists said. “As was observed at Mount St. Helens between 1987-2004, recharge can continue for many years beneath a volcano without an eruption.”
The USGS said there are no signs of an imminent eruption at Mount St. Helens. There have been no anomalous gases, increases in ground inflation or shallow seismicity with this swarm.
“Each volcano behaves a little differently,” the USGS stated. “Research has led to a greater understanding of seismic signals and improved our ability to characterize what is going on at depth, and, if needed, provide eruption warnings.”