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The Scariest Volcano In America Is No Longer Yellowstone

The Scariest Volcano In America Is No Longer Yellowstone

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America’s deadliest volcano could be primed for another eruption – and it’s not Yellowstone.

Scientists have discovered a giant, previously unknown lava pool beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington State that could fuel future eruptions at several different volcanoes.

The 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens was the deadliest volcanic disaster in recorded American history, killing 57 people and spewing 540 million tons of ash into the air, USA Today reported. It also caused the largest recorded landslide in history.

A group of scientists have used imaging technology to map the plumbing under Mount St. Helens, and they made a disturbing discover: There is not one but two giant magma chambers under the mountain. The first chamber that caused the 1980 eruption is three to seven miles below the surface, but that cavern is connected to a much larger pool of lava that is seven to 25 miles underground.

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That means the risk of eruption at Mount St. Helens could be far greater than scientists thought. Even worse, the lower chamber of magma could fuel eruptions at several volcanos in the area, including Mount Adams and the Indian Heaven field of dormant volcanoes nearby.

“It isn’t a stretch to say that there’s something down there feeding everything,” Rice University Geophysicist Alan Levander said. Levander was one of the experts involved in the Imaging Magma Under St. Helens team (iMUSH) that studied Mount St. Helens.

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To image the volcanoes, experts planted 920 sensors and set off 23 small explosions. The explosions were needed to generate vibrations that they could use to map out how earthquakes affect the volcano. The 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens was preceded by a series of earthquakes.

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“You’re actually seeing it in action,” Kate Miller, a geophysicist from Texas A&M University, said of the research. “Now, you can go in and model the plumbing system.”

Yellowstone also has a two-chamber system underneath it, Off The Grid News reported earlier this year.

Those who live on the West Coast now have another reason to pay close attention.

What type of natural disaster scares you the most? Share your thoughts on the Mount St. Helens threat or other natural disasters in the section below:  

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