Mount St. Helens Experienced 40 Earthquakes in 3 Days

Steven Agar |
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Mount St. Helens. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images

Forty earthquakes occurred around Mount St. Helens in the first three days of the year, with the most powerful a magnitude 3.9 that occurred about 5 miles from Mount St. Helens and 23 miles from the town of Morton.

mount st helens, volcano, earthquakes, washington, crystal, rainier
Location of recent tremors in relation to Mount St. Helens. Credit: Forbes

The 3.9 magnitude earthquake was felt in Portland and Seattle but there were no reported injuries or damage. Since then there were further earthquakes, averaging about every half hour with magnitudes from 0.6 to 2.6. The 3.9-magnitude temblor is the second-largest in the immediate area of Mount St. Helens since 1981.

It is common to experience numbers of earthquakes at Mount St. Helens. The recent earthquakes appear to be both from regional tectonic stress (i.e. not related to the volcano) and from the volcano itself. In both cases, this is not a sign of an impending eruption, the earthquakes are a result of an active volcanic system and movement along regional stress fields.

mount st helens, volcano, earthquakes, washington, crystal, rainier
The geological makeup around Mount St. Helens. Credit: Forbes
Mount St. Helens is most commonly known for its major eruption in 1980, the deadliest and most economically damaging volcanic event in the history of the United States. The stratovolcano is situated just 96 miles from Seattle and 50 miles from Portland, making an eruption especially dangerous. And while Mount St. Helens hasn’t had a large eruption for almost 40 years (there have been smaller eruptions as recently as 10 years ago) it is still considered an active stratovolcano by geologists.
Nearby Crystal Mountain Resort was unaffected and is safe for skiers to visit.

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