Reports

Gas Emissions and the Eruptions of Mount St. Helens Through 1982

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Science  30 Sep 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4618, pp. 1383-1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4618.1383

Abstract

The monitoring of gas emissions from Mount St. Helens includes daily airborne measurements of sulfur dioxide in the volcanic plume and monthly sampling of gases from crater fumaroles. The composition of the fumarolic gases has changed slightly since 1980: the water content increased from 90 to 98 percent, and the carbon dioxide concentrations decreased from about 10 to 1 percent. The emission rates of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide were at their peak during July and August 1980, decreased rapidly in late 1980, and have remained low and decreased slightly through 1981 and 1982. These patterns suggest steady outgassing of a single batch of magma (with a volume of not less than 0.3 cubic kilometer) to which no significant new magma has been added since mid-1980. The gas data were useful in predicting eruptions in August 1980 and June 1981.