Geochemical precursors to volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens, USA

Kim Berlo*, Jon Blundy, Simon Turner, Kathy Cashman, Chris Hawkesworth, Stuart Black

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    97 Citations (Scopus)


    The importance of the interplay between degassing and crystallization before and after the eruption of Mount St. Helens (Washington, USA) in 1980 is well established. Here, we show that degassing occurred over a period of decades to days before eruptions and that the manner of degassing, as deduced from geochemical signatures within the magma, was characteristic of the eruptive style. Trace element (lithium) and short-lived radioactive isotope (lead-210 and radium-226) data show that ascending magma stalled within the conduit, leading to the accumulation of volatiles and the formation of lead-210 excesses, which signals the presence of degassing magma at depth.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1169
    Number of pages3
    Issue number5699
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2004


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