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Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Our Restless West Coast

As a series of earthquakes continued around Mt. St. Helens,central California was struck by a 6.0 quake along the SanAndreas Fault, centered near Paso Robles. In recent days,the West Coast has experienced an exceptional amount ofearthquake activity, with a cluster of quakes near MammothLake, the continuing disturbance around Mt. St. Helens, andnow this new quake. There is no evidence that the quakes arerelated. It is believed by experts that the Mt. St.Helens quakes may indicate magma movement within thevolcano, although increased carbon dioxide emissions havenot been observed at this time.

The quakes are centered about half a mile beneath thesurface of a large lava dome in Mount St. Helens' crater.They are of the type that indicates the presence ofpressurized fluids or magma. Experts do not expect a largeexplosion at this time, but the activity is unusual enoughto cause concern.

In the Mammoth Lake area, microquakes measuring one to twoon the Richter Scale have been continuing for a week. As of5PM PDT on September 28, there had been twenty such quakesin the past 24 hours. Since they began on September 18,there have been hundreds.

The cause of these quakes is not known. There have beenearthquake clusters in the area before, one as recent as1980, but not nearly the numbers and duration of this cluster.

Since earthquake prediction isn't perfected yet, we'll justhave totrustour vibes.

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