May 8, 2005

Mount St. Helens’ Johnston Ridge Reopens

MOUNT ST. HELENS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Wash. (AP) -- Johnston Ridge Observatory reopened to the public Friday, seven months after it was closed because of new activity at Mount St. Helens.

From the observatory, visitors can look five miles into the crater of Mount St. Helens where a steaming lava dome has been growing since October. On Friday, however, clouds obscured the view.

It may be a couple of days before the weather clears enough for visitors at the observatory to get a better view of the volcano.

The observatory was closed in October when the volcano began its dome-building eruption.

Visitors to Johnston Ridge are advised to bring a dust mask in case of another ash-spewing eruption.

Mount St. Helens erupted with devastating violence 25 years ago on May 18, 1980, blasting open its once-perfect peak, leveling forests for miles and killing 57 people. It rumbled sporadically for several years afterward and then subsided, reawakening last fall.

After weeks of increased seismic activity in March with quakes as large as magnitude 3.4, the mountain has settled down again. The U.S. Geological Survey said the volcano is rumbling with small quakes as magma pushes up to add to the growing lava dome.


On the Net:

Mount St. Helens National Volcano Monument: http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/