Science

Is There A Super Volcano Under Mount St. Helens?

OPB | June 11, 2009 8:47 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:10 a.m. | Bend, OR

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By Ethan Lindsey

Researchers believe there may be a “super volcano” sitting underneath Mount Saint Helens.

The theory will be published in the upcoming issue of New Scientist magazine, due out on Saturday.

In the article, a New Zealand researcher says he has found big, connected channels of semi-molten rock beneath the southern Washington mountain.

An eruption from that deep source would dwarf the 1980s explosion that killed 57 people.

Gary Egbert, on the other hand, says that the super-volcano theory is unlikely. He’s a professor of geology and geophysics at Oregon State University.

Gary Egbert: “There’s high connectivity everywhere, under the Cascades, and it’s kind of like they are looking at a little bit of the elephant, in some sense. And in standing back, you wonder, there might be other interpretations.

Volcano researchers say they worry about discussions of a super-volcano.

They say the theories are just that – and could prompt unnecessary worries from the general public.

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