Monitoring the 1980-1982 Eruptions of Mount St. Helens: Compositions and Abundances of Glass

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Science  30 Sep 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4618, pp. 1387-1391
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4618.1387


The Mount St. Helens eruptive sequence of 1980 through 1982 reflects the tapping of successively less water-rich, more highly crystallized, and more viscous, highly phyric dacitic magmas. These changes reflect both syn- and preeruption processes. The decreasing water content points to a continued decline in the volume and intensity of explosive pyroclastic activity. This decreasing water content appears to be composed of a long-term trend established during a long period of repose (about 130 years) imposed on short-term trends established during short periods (about 7 to 100 days) of repose between eruptions in the present eruptive cycle. The last two eruptive cycles of this volcano, the T (A.D. 1800) and W cycles (about A. D. 1500), exhibited similar trends. These changes are inferred from a combination of petrographic, bulk chemical, and electron- and ion-microprobe analyses of matrix and melt-inclusion glasses.