Mt St. Helens
Mount St. Helens is a volcanic mountain in the Cascade Range in Western North America, in the state of Washington. It is, perhaps, the most famous mountain in the range, and certainly is the most active volcano in the area today. In fact, it has probably been the most active of the Cascade volcanoes for over 4000 years. If the eruption of 18th May 1980 follows the pattern of previous eruptions the mountain will remain very active for perhaps ten or twenty years before beginning to quieten down again. The 1980 eruption was the first time that it was possible to use modern technology to carefully monitor a volcano as it built up towards a violent eruption. Scientists gathered vast quantities of data about the mountain in the months that led up to the eruption, and were able to record events as they happened. Despite this, the precise moment of eruption was impossible to determine beforehand, and caught the researchers by surprise. The prediction of volcanic eruptions is difficult, although most scientists studying them, volcanologists , would say that it can be easier than predicting earthquakes. History
The Cascade mountains lie along the western coast of the United States. This area is one subjected to frequent earth movements and has a long history of volcanic activity. The mountains have formed as a result of seismic activity. The American coast is part of the North American Plate; the Pacific Ocean to the west overlies the Juan de Fuca plate. The Juan de Fuca plate is being subducted below the North American plate by processes explained by the theory of Plate Tectonics. As the descending Juan de Fuca plate is subjected to increasing pressure it becomes hotter and begins to partially melt. The molten rock, called magma begins to rise towards the surface. When it reaches the surface it erupts and a volcano is formed. Mt St.Helens is the youngest of the volcanoes in the region, being a mere 2,500 years old, but the area has...
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