Scientists have begun installing mapping instruments on Mount St. Helens as means of mapping the volcano’s interior.
The project, called Imaging Magma Under St. Helens, or iMUSH, would further acquaint scientists to the volcano’s internal workings.
It intends to help improve warning systems prior to eruption.
The mapping devices, which would scan the volcano’s interior upon installation, are put inside 24-meter-deep boreholes.
Creation of each borehole requires a “shot,” firing each of which resembles taking place of a temblor roughly measuring two on the Richter scale.
Researcher Steve Malone said, “These shots are done at night to give the best chance of recording good signals without other vibrations being present such as from wind or vehicle traffic.”
The volcano’s eruption in May 1980 killed 57 people and caused more than USD one billion in damage.
“Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range threaten urban centers from Vancouver to Portland,” lead scientist Alan Levander of Rice University in Houston said in a statement.
“We’d like to better understand their inner workings in order to better predict when they may erupt and how severe those eruptions are likely to be,” he said.
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