2014 study of St. Helens magma system will be among world’s largest
A series of monitoring equipment upgrades on Mount St. Helens aims to give scientists a better pulse on the action below the volcano’s crater — and better protection from the elements above it.
Researchers at the Vancouver-based Cascades Volcano Observatory rely on sophisticated equipment to watch the mountain’s every move. That includes seismometers transmitting information in real time, and GPS devices marking the precise shape of Mount St. Helens as it changes.
Scientists have spent recent weeks modifying antennae and completing other upgrades designed to boost the data capacity of the GPS system, said Ben Pauk, a geophysicist helping with the work. They’ve also moved some electronic equipment inside a new fiberglass hut within the crater. The extra shelter will shield the equipment from snow and ice that has caused problems in the past.
The small hut — “it kind of reminds me of a doghouse,” Pauk said — sits on the spot known as September Lobe, on the northwest side of the mountain’s crater.
“The site was completely buried by snow this last winter,” Pauk said, noting an antenna was “sheared off” at that time.