PORTLAND, Ore. — After a 35-day government shutdown, all of the federal scientists charged with keeping tabs on Mount St. Helens are back at work this week.
And they're clearing up some rumors and rumblings they could not address during the shutdown. One headline that came out of a United Kingdom publication last week read: "Mount St. Helens WARNING: Scientist reveals molten rock 'rising FIVE metres a DAY.'"
It was a misleading headline that furloughed U.S. Geological Service scientists were not allowed to address due to the shutdown. But now they can.
And their response?
The 5-meter a day rise in molten rock actually happened 15 years ago during the 2004 and 2005 eruption. It was an eruption that was covered extensively.
As for rumblings of earthquakes on the volcano, the scientists said, yes there have been quakes up there, but they have all been very small and very normal.
"The bottom line at St. Helens, we get almost an earthquake a day," said seismologist Wes Thelen. "The dome at St. Helens has been quiet since 2008... we have cameras. We watch it all the time."
The scientists point out, while they were not able to address rumors during the government shutdown, they were still monitoring all the volcanoes in our area.
A skeleton crew worked daily to collect data and watch for any action. If they had seen anything unusual, they would have been able to bring people in and respond accordingly.