March 9, 2005Washington State's Mount St. Helens volcano
stirred again yesterday, throwing a cloud of steam and ash 36,000
feet (11,000 meters) into the air. Observers in Portland, Oregon, 60
miles (100 kilometers) away, could see the plume, which followed an
eruption at 5:25 p.m. PT. The explosion lasted about 30 minutes.
"The eruption could intensify suddenly or with little warning and produce explosions that cause hazardous conditions within several miles of the crater and farther downwind," the United States Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory warned on its Web site yesterday.
Mount St. Helens rumbled back to life in September 2004. Over a period of several weeks, the 8,364-foot (2,549-meter) mountain shook with a flurry of earthquakes and spewed large clouds of steam and ash.
The volcano's recent activity has caused no human casualties and is far weaker than the cataclysmic explosion that occurred on May 18, 1980, and claimed 57 lives.
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