After five days of watching Mt. St. Helens spit rocks, steam, ash and gases, a geologist said Monday that it did not appear that the volcano was preparing for another eruption.
Crews found no further swelling of the lava dome in the crater Monday, a day after scientists reported that a slight increase was detected, U.S. Geological Survey geologist Steve Brantley said.
In addition, Brantley said, he and other scientists who flew over the peak found no measurable release of sulfur dioxide, a key sign of the upward movement of magma, or molten rock.
At the University of Washington geophysics center in Seattle, Chris Jonientz-Trisler said a Monday morning computer check of earthquake data indicated a slight increase in seismic levels beneath the volcano.
Seismic levels reflect the amount of energy released, and increases often indicate an upsurge of magma. Lack of detectable sulfur dioxide, or further swelling of the dome, makes it unlikely an eruption is building, Brantley said.