Seismic Precursors to the Mount St. Helens Eruptions in 1981 and 1982

Science  30 Sep 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4618, pp. 1376-1378
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4618.1376


Six categories of seismic events are recognized on the seismograms from stations in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens. Two types of high-frequency earthquakes occur near the volcano and under the volcano at depths of more than 4 kilometers. Medium- and low-frequency earthquakes occur at shallow depths (less than 3 kilometers) within the volcano and increase in number and size before eruptions. Temporal changes in the energy release of the low-frequency earthquakes have been used in predicting all the eruptions since October 1980. During and after eruptions, two types of low-frequency emergent surface events occur, including rockfalls and steam or gas bursts from the lava dome.