Experts believe the volcano sources its magma from another location.
Mount St. Helens was responsible for the deadliest volcanic eruption in American history in 1980 so it would be reasonable to think that the majestic mountain is brewing with hot, bubbling magma – but you’d be wrong.
Geologists have published research saying that St. Helen’s is actually stone cold inside and actually sources its magma from a distant source.
The research was conducted under the collective “Imaging Magma Under St. Helens,” or iMUSH which saw researchers use ways of tracking seismic waves and creating ultrasound images to discover the inner workings of the volcano.
Explosives were set off around the volcano and surrounding Cascade Range and the waves produced were tracked and analyzed to produce an image of the different volcanos in the vicinity of St Helens. They found that many other volcanos contained magma that reaches 1,400 degrees F. but Mount St. Helens was 100 degrees cooler meaning its temperature is not hot enough to produce magma.
“Given the unusual location of Mount St. Helens, we think that this raises questions regarding the extent of the cold mantle wedge and the source region of melts that are ultimately responsible for volcanism,” said lead author Dr. Steven Hansen, a researcher at the University of New Mexico.
The researchers involved in the collaborative study are not sure exactly how the famous volcano gets its magma source from.
“The melt that supplies Mount St. Helens is probably formed to the east in the mantle wedge below Mount Adams and then moves west through the magmatic system somehow,” stated Dr. Hansen.
More research will further help seismologists to understand how Mount St. Helens operates and its relationship to its surrounding volcanic neighbors and the role that magma recharge has on quakes.
Details of the study was published in the journal Nature Communications.