"Fin" Grows in St. Helens Crater - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"Fin" Grows in St. Helens Crater

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) - When the Johnston Ridge Observatory opens tomorrow, visitors should have a good view of the latest lava growth in the crater of Mount St. Helens.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 300-foot-tall "slab" or "fin" has pushed itself higher than the previous lava dome. It's growing four or five feet a day as magma continues to push up inside the mountain.

The volcano has been quietly erupting since September of 2004, adding rock inside the crater as it rumbles with small earthquakes and occasional steam bursts.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory is the closest to the volcano -- about five miles north at an elevation of 45-hundred feet. It's at the end of Highway 504 -- 52 miles east of Castle Rock.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)