Scientists Working To See If Mount St. Helens Will Erupt Again - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Scientists Working To See If Mount St. Helens Will Erupt Again

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NBC RIGHT NOW-- This weekend a group of about 75 geophysicists from around the world will be meeting up at Mount St. Helens to do tests similar to CAT Scans to see how deep the magma pipeline in the still active volcano is.

They will drill 23 holes into the mountain so they can create seismic waves with small explosions equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake.

They will also be placing about 3,500 new seismic sensors all around the volcano.  These will record the speed of the seismic waves created by the explosions. Changing speeds will indicate changes in shapes of the volcano's interior.

All these new measuring devices are the final preparations for a big new volcano-mapping project that scientists say will enable the equivalent of an ultrasound and CAT Scan of the volcano's internal plumbing.

Findings from these tests could lead to better predictability about when the volcano might erupt again.

This is a long-term project.  About a month ago researchers set up 70 measuring stations around the peak of Mount St. Helens which will also monitor seismic activity for the next two years.