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St. Helen Fin
Oct 16, 2004

Mount St. Helens Fin May Be Splitting
The stone fin on the new lava lobe inside the crater at Mount St. Helens seems to be starting to split. The fin, which is about 200 feet tall and 300 feet wide, is building on the new lava dome, which is about 1,600 feet in diameter and 400 feet high, U.S. Geological Survey geologist Tina Neal said Friday. The mountain was shrouded in fog and clouds Friday, but brief views inside the crater from aircraft showed bright red lava glowing in spots on the gray lava dome. Scientists continue to warn that the eruption could intensify at any time, but the USGS said earthquake activity remained low Friday, and levels of gas found above the crater, which could indicate a stronger eruption was in the works, were unchanged. The latest dome-building began with tiny earthquakes Sept. 23, apparently from magma breaking through rock as it rose toward the surface. Several steam bursts followed, and geologists detected lava at the surface late Monday. As the dome-building continues, it could produce small explosions with little warning, Neal said. A large explosion is still possible but is among the least likely scenarios, she added.