Eruption Prediction Aided by Electronic Tiltmeter Data at Mount St. Helens

Science  30 Sep 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4618, pp. 1381-1383
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4618.1381


Telemetry from electronic tiltmeters in the crater at Mount St. Helens contributed to accurate predictions of all six effusive eruptions from June 1981 to August 1982. Tilting of the crater floor began several weeks before each eruption, accelerated sharply for several days, and then abruptly changed direction a few minutes to days before extrusion began. Each episode of uplift was caused by the intrusion of magma into the lava dome from a shallow source, causing the dome to inflate and eventually rupture. Release of magma pressure and increased surface loading by magma added to the dome combined to cause subsidence just prior to extrusion.