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Mount ST. Helens Hazardous Simulations

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Past illustrations of the gravity of the situation
  • Mount St. Helens Model “a Big Deal”
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendices

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Depth for Mount St. Helens case analysis
  • Figure 2: Simulation of Mount St. Helens
  • Figure 3: Simulation images

Introduction 

There are many volcanologists who have shaped the first 3-D simulation of the catastrophic outbreak of the Mount St. Helens, which is likely to happen again within about thirty-one years. The representation backs up initial thoughts concerning what caused the 1980 explosion of Mount St. Helens, which killed about 57 people. The truth, however, is that this simulation of Mount St. Helens could save lives by helping researchers forecast when inactive volcanoes like Mount St. Helens might make themselves known once again. We would also use the ash cloud model in order to know about the hazards of the Mount St. Helens. There are various tests which we can use to predict the behaviour of volcanoes such as St. Helens, although it can be dangerous to rely too heavily upon these predictions, according to volcanologist Amanda Clarke. With subsurface modeling and modern monitoring systems, geophysicist and geologists have built the volcanoes’ 3-diemtnsiosnal picture such as Mount St. Helens (Nace, 2018)

 Mount St Helens in located in Washington State and first started to stir two  months before it exploded. On May 18, 1980, an earthquake raising about 5.1 erupted from Mount St. Helens’s north face, functioning as a release valve for the highly pressurised magma chamber underneath (Orange County Register, 2009). The resultant detonation threw millions of tons of burning residue and gas into the atmosphere, eventually laying waste to hundreds of square miles—almost all to the north of Mount St. Helens—in around 10 minutes. The subsequent evacuation, which allowed most to escape, is recognised as one of the best in the history of volcanoes. At present, the existing simulation of the explosion is said to be of insufficient quality to precisely replicate the irregular blast and its effects (Pallister’, Hoblitt, Crandell’, & Mullineaux, 1992). The Mudflows in Mount St. Helens, and perhaps pyroclastic flow moving quickly towards Pine Creek, might displace water in Swift Reservoir, which could cause catastrophic flooding farther down the valley (Macedonio & Pareschi, 1992).

In this report the literature review is conducted to understand the case of Mount St. Helen in detail and its hazard simulations. As such, this literature review section contains the studies and findings of many researchers from various areas of the world. In the past, a number of researchers have conducted research on the eruption at Mount St. Helens. During the literature review, other similar cases, including mountains like MT. Baker, Wa, and MT. Rainier, WA, was also studied. A number of research papers have also been studied in order to establish which qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques would be most appropriate. The literature review is based on the findings of secondary and primary research from research papers, printed articles, website articles, and books.

Almost immediately following the Mount St. Helen’s eruption, many scientists began attempting to understand why the tragedy zone was so extensive and isolated to the north face of Mount St. Helens. One hypothesis recommended that a single, continued jet of volcanic material had been released from the north face at supersonic speeds. Flooding destroyed the communications, that was the secondary effect, such as railways bridges and roads (BBC, 2014). Later research indicated a less precise explosion, more akin to grenades exploding in the volcano. However, when the grenade scenario was developed in 2D simulations, these did not correctly recreate the area of destruction caused by the blast. The more recent research looked at the physics of detonation and the lessening of ash and wreckage as gravity’s pressure lessened across the area (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978). The new model, on the other hand, factored in 3-dimension dynamics. The different gravitational forces which shaped earlier ash and gas flow by dragging additional debris quickly downward were established to have caused the large area of destruction. This model is the first reproduction of the Mount St. Helen’s eruption to closely match the speed of the explosion and the extent of the damage (Dale, Swanson, & Crisafulli, 2011)

Mount St. Helens Model “a Big Deal”

The successful simulation of the Mount St. Helens eruption has other uses beyond simply decoding the 1980s tragedy. We can equally employ this to calculate eruption scenarios for many other volcanoes like Mount St. Helens. “Although we cannot predict precisely what will come about, it might be tremendously helpful,” said lead investigatorTomaso Esposito Ongaro, an Italian volcanologist. Volcanologist Marcus Bursik is in agreement with Ongaro’s conclusions.  Fortunately, some volcanoes are likely to behave according to predictions. As such, if we were able to generate a replica which could give some indication of a seismic scale and what is likely to occur in subsequent eruptions, this would be of great benefit. Many scientists, myself included, have long awaited this research, and all the theories currently being postulated are also of value in relation to the original eruption of Mount St. Helens (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012).

Literature Review   

In 1980, Mount St. Helen suffered the eruption of a volcano at the height of 9,677 feet. The blast at Mount St. Helens is considered one of the most explosive volcanoes on record, as it destroyed the whole structure of Mount St. Helens. Rock, gases, and lava debris erupted on a large scale because of the flank vents and summit shape of Mount St (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978). The level of destruction and the subsequent side-effects of the eruption have led researchers to consider it one which should not be repeated, as it poses a significant threat to human life.

Because of the scale of the event at Mount St. Helens and the subsequent research which has gone into it, volcanologists have resolved that an alert system should be developed which would allow vulnerable places to take precautionary measures against eruptions. In accordance with the findings of the literature review, hazard simulations can support the government and relevant departments in controlling the situation and reducing the possible risk factors. Recently, the USGS has been working to minimise the risk of the volcano at Mount St. Helens (Pallister, Hoblitt, Crandell, & Mullineaux, 1992). In pursuit of this goal, they have organized security and monitoring systems such as GPS systems, seismometers, and cloud simulation. According to the USGS, cloud simulations can help with modelling and build ash paths in case of Mount St. Helen faces the same situation again. Models of the cloud simulation provide the basis for graphical explanations of the eruption and its potential paths (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012).

According to the research conducted by R, Crandell, & Mullineau, (1978), Mount St. Helens has become more vigorous and volatile throughout the past 4,500 years than any other volcano in the contiguous USA. Volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago were frequently the creators of mountains, the generators of large quantities of pumice, and lava flows from most mountains in the USA have occurred over the past 2,500 years. This information explains the natural construction of much of the USA and illustratesthe uncertainty and danger to populace and possessions for those in these regions; the supplementary map demonstrates areas likely to be, or to have been, affected by eruptions from Mount St. Helens (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978).

Anexplosive eruption that manufactures great volumes of pumice has an effect on large areas for the reason that wind can carry these light materials many kilometres away from the volcano which produced them. Because of common wind patterns in the area, the 180-degree quadrant east of Mount St. Helens will be most frequently and harshly affected by blasts of this type. On the other hand, the pumice from some explosions might affect only a tiny part of this wider target area. Pyroclastic flow and mudflows also can have an effect on areas around volcanoes like Mount St. Helens, but the region they influence is lesser for the reason that tends to move through valley regions. Mudflows in Mount St. Helens and perhaps pyroclastic flow moving quickly down Pine Creek might displace water in Swift Reservoir, which could cause catastrophic floods farther down the valley in the areas of the volcanoes (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978).

According to the research conducted by Pallister, Hoblitt, Crandell, & Mullineaux (1992), the evacuation which allowed the majority of people to abandon their homes and escape was one of the best recorded in the history of volcanoes. Simulations of the Mount St. Helens eruption have the potential to save lives in that they can help us predict when other, similar volcanoes might erupt. One scenario that of a grenade-type eruption failed to replicate the area of destruction at Mount St. Helens when it was modelled, but it is likely that some volcanoes will behave according to predictions. In some instances, then, replicas will prove good predictions of what may occur (Pallister, Hoblitt, Crandell, & Mullineaux, 1992).

All of the geologic data offers a cut-down replica of the present system of examining Mount St. Helens and its volcanic potential. This new geochemical information provides the basis for new ways of appraising the danger levels here. The appraisal is based upon the magmatic chemistry exhibited by the volcano over the past 500 years, for which detailed geochemical information is obtainable. The most recent study takes into account the Kalama Goat Rocks and the context of the period in which each eruption took place. In every era, silica content is observed to diminish, but then return greater than before. The Kalama rocks seem to perpetuate a sort of cycle of chemical amplification shaped by the addition of dacite and basalt.  The Goat Rocks and the present cycle of eruption are connected both to each other and to the dynamics by which liquid magma is removed from the basin of the volcano (Pallister, Hoblitt, Crandell, & Mullineaux, 1992).

According to the research the significant damage to the local area caused by acts of God frequently provide the main impetus for community security to be assessed. This was absolutely the case at Mount St. Helens subsequent to the eruption in 1980. The outbreak set off an instant response which required the identification and liberation of as many humans and human possessions as could be evacuated from the danger zone. Observable physical danger and the potential of future threat to the community drew the attention of the USDA Forest Service and many other organisations who began assessing who should have access to the danger area, how hazardous it was, and how long it would remain so (Dale, Swanson, & Crisafulli, 2011).

 As the activity of the volcano ceases and changes to the geomorphic area begin, the viewpoint of ecological scientists becomes increasingly relevant to land and water administrative bodies. The success of the organised response to the Mount St. Helens eruption forms a foundation for the future organisation in the region, with a role for ecological scientists. Prior to March 20, 1980, one hundred and twenty-three years had passed since the last eruption of Mount St. Helens, and most bodies in the area were more concerned with the forestry industry in the region. Between March 20 and May 18, 1980, a period of continuous volcanic instability generated apprehension as to the danger the volcano might pose to the area; the result of this concern was that the area was relatively well prepared to respond to the eruption when it happened (Dale, Swanson, & Crisafulli, 2011).

Following that eruption, apprehension has turned into a long-term interest in organising the region productively to ensure that as much as possible is known about future volcanic activity and how best to respond to it. This has involved ecological scientists, who were heavily in demand soon after the eruption, but less so throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The diminishing concern for the perspectives of ecological scientists was a result of changing attitudes to the volcano’s eruptive potential, the development of a scheme to respond to future eruptions, and an environmental shift in how high ground, rivers, and water are cared for (Dale, Swanson, & Crisafulli, 2011).

According to the research conducted by Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti (2012), arithmetical models of the eruption explain the explosive material as a high-velocity pyroclastic thickness, going through a fast-growth phase at the point of rupture, and subsequently changing in constituency as it moves down the mountain into areas of lower gravity. The output of the model shows consequences in line with what really happened during the explosion, both in terms of its swiftness and in terms of how it expanded across the damaged area, at speed capped at 170 m/s (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012).

 In topographic areas further down the mountain, pyroclasts increasingly collect at the bottom of the gorge, forming an opaque basal outflow. As the area becomes increasingly full with this material, this can force sedimentation to begin, resulting in a gradually weakened flow and a change to the topography of the area (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012).

In this area of dense sedimentation, the topography will become sufficiently blocked to force other particles to move quickly from side to side, making them unstable until they settle in layers. Through the arithmetic-based replica model does not allow a direct imitation of exactly how the materials compacted following the eruption, they can help us to understand the stratigraphic pattern we see in the area (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012).

Methodology

Direct access to Mount St. Helen is not possible; nor is it possible to access simulations of the volcano eruption for researchers in my position. Therefore, the research is conducted with the assistance of the other researchers and volcanologists who have provided data from simulations and information about both the eruption and the current condition of Mount St. Helen. The VBA (Visual Application Software) software was developed with the help of Microsoft excel and it is basically convenient to understand and user friendly for ash cloud modelling as it is quick to run as well. This software is very instrumental as well as affordable for predicting the ash clod transport’s extent and input parameters of dispersion utilization according to the preferences of users. However, to the particles’ numbers, the software is limited that can be modelled at the time. The model’s accuracy is improvable if input parameters such as eruption rate and plume height are taken into consideration.

Data is also collected through the collection of interviews from volcanologists in pertinent areas. These interviews are taken in an oral form and use formally structured interview questions about previous eruptions, the current situation and possible safety measures employed by the volcanologists to reduce risk factors. Short notes are taken during the interview to ensure accurate information is presented in the research paper. Data collected for the simulation is simulated with the help of other researchers working on the Mount St. Helens case. Research methodology is straightforward for the research paper, with data being collected and presented in order to offer the most value and contribution for future researchers. Quantitative data is also analyzed with the use of modern simulation software.   

Results

Simulation data collected from authentic sources are used in the simulation of the Mount St. Helens eruption. There are some images generated from the data; therefore, the results of the simulation of Mount St. Helens’s eruption is presented below in the graphical image. The simulation images of Mount St. Helens provide information pertaining to the 1980 incident, describing the depth of the volcano at that time and the eruptive duration.  In the black triangle-shaped icon, depth in kilometres is presented. The image is based on the simulation of the aerial extent of the Mount St. Helen’s ash output.  

The above-mentioned images of the simulation are the results of four different types of simulations conducted for the analysis of the Mount St. Helens eruption. The first image represents a high spatial resolution (a). The comparison is projected among four types of aerial extent during the eruption in the plinian phase. According to the results of the simulation, the blue area in the simulated area shape represents the situation at 0916 (PDT), while green represents 1115, yellow 1315, orange 1616 and red 1716, the latest point in the day shown in the image.

Discussion

Volcanologists who studied the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens approached their research with the intention of preventing a repeat of the incident. In order to control the situation, they used hazard simulation and cloud simulation for monitoring and analysis purposes. Data collected for the depth of the volcano at Mount St. Helens is shown below in the table. 

In the table mentioned above, the maximum height recorded is 11.7, which is less than 15% of the total potential height. On the other side of the peak, discharge height is projected as anywhere between 3000 and 5000. According to available information, Mount St. Helens contains two lahars that are named as Muddy River Lahar and Pine Creek Lahar (Pallister’, Hoblitt, Crandell’, & Mullineaux, 1992). Hazard simulation studies both lahars for the collection of appropriate information and findings. Based upon the level of destruction caused by the incident, researchers have interpreted it as one of the worst to have occurred in volcanic history, and one which should be prevented from recurring for the sake of saving human life. Hazard simulation can support the government and other responsible departments in controlling the situation and reducing the possible risk factors. USGS has been working to minimise the risk of the volcano at Mount St. Helens (Dale, Swanson, & Crisafulli, 2011).

The Kalama rocks seem to perpetuate a sort of cycle of chemical amplification shaped by the addition of dacite and basalt.  Observation of the physical danger potentially posed by the volcanic movement was used as a means to implement appropriate community support in Mount St. Helens before the explosion. Scientists were able to make assessments based on sedimentation levels and geomorphic and environmental markers, subsequently constructing other structures to prevent damage from future explosions (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978).

The results of the simulation and other research are in line with other, similar research articles which confirm the accuracy of the research information (R, Crandell, & Mullineau, 1978). According to the analysis, the pyroclastic flows and surges caused by melting of snow and ice played the triggering role in the whole situation. . It is thought that pyroclastic flow moving quickly into Pine Creek might displace water in Swift Reservoir that might cause catastrophic flood farther down the valley in the area of the volcano. One hypothesis suggested that a solitary, continued jet of the volcanic material had been released from the north face at supersonic speeds. As the snow melted, it became a mixture of sediment and water, with a volume of millions of cubic meters. This water and sediment began to move within a few minutes, beginning some kilometres away from Mount St. Helens and its vent. The simulation indicates that the flow of lava began when the volume of either Pine Creek or Muddy River Lahar exceeded what it could handle, prompting a flood (Pallister, Hoblitt, Crandell, & Mullineaux, 1992).

Conclusion

The eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano has been studied with the hazard simulation technique generally considered to offer the best chance of establishing the future eruptive potential of the volcano. Essentially, the simulation based on ash depths can present most information about the volcano and its depth at different times. Volcanologist takes the view that such information can be used in the future to avoid such incident and loss of human lives at such a large scale. Simulation results are also presented that describe that the depth of the volcano was greater than that of other volcanoes in the other areas of the world.

In employing these simulations to assess the likely behaviour of volcanoes like the one at Mount St. Helens, it can be dangerous to attempt to capture a whole eruption in only a 3-D model, according to volcanologist Amanda Clarke. The resultant detonation at Mount St. Helens threw millions of tons of burning residue and gas into the atmosphere, laying waste to hundreds of square miles—almost all to the north of Mount St. Helens—in around 10 minutes. It is thought that pyroclastic flow moving quickly into Pine Creek might displace water in Swift Reservoir that might cause catastrophic flood farther down the valley in the area of the volcano. One hypothesis suggested that a solitary, continued jet of the volcanic material had been released from the north face at supersonic speeds.

The new approach holds that the gravity which shaped earlier gas and ash flow by dragging new debris quickly downwards has been the driving force behind the destruction. We can use this model, as indicated, to assess the eruptive potential of other volcanoes similar to this one. Fortunately, some volcanoes are likely to behave according to predictions. As such, if we were able to generate a replica which could give some indication of a seismic scale and what is likely to occur in subsequent eruptions, this would be of great benefit. Many scientists, myself included, have long awaited this research, and all the theories currently being postulated are also of value in relation to the original eruption of Mount St. Helens (Ongaro, Clarke, Voight, & Widiwijayanti, 2012). Therefore the literature review section contains the studies and findings of many researchers from various areas of the world. In the past, a number of researchers have conducted research on Mount St. Helens and similar volcanoes.

References
  • BBC. (2014). Case study: Mount St Helens 1980 (MEDC). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/natural_hazards/volcanoes_rev7.shtml
  • Dale, V. H., Swanson, F. J., & Crisafulli, C. M. (2011). Ecological Perspectives on Management of the Mount St. Helens Landscape. Ecological Responses to the 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 277-286.
  • Macedonio, G., & Pareschi, M. (1992). Numerical simulation of some lahars from Mount St. Helens . Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, , 65-80.
  • Nace, T. (2018, January 3). Mount St. Helens Is Rumbling Again With 40 Earthquakes Since New Years Day. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/01/03/mount-st-helens-is-rumbling-again-with-40-earthquakes-since-new-years-day/#2aabf081370b
  • Ongaro, T. E., Clarke, B., Voight, 3. A., & Widiwijayanti, C. (2012). Multiphase flow dynamics of pyroclastic density currents during the May 18, 1980 lateral blast of Mount St. Helens. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH.
  • Orange County Register. (2009, October 1). 5.1 earthquake erupts near Death Valley. Retrieved from https://www.ocregister.com/2009/10/01/51-earthquake-erupts-near-death-valley/
  • Pallister’, J. S., Hoblitt, R. P., Crandell’, D. R., & Mullineaux, D. R. (1992). Mount St. Helens a decade after the 1980 eruptions: magmatic models, chemical cycles, and a revised hazards assessment . 126-146.
  • R, D., Crandell, & Mullineau, D. R. (1978). Potential Hazards From Future Eruptions Of Mount St. Helens Volcano washington.
  • Sheridana, M., Stintona, .., Patrab, A., Pitman, E., Bauer, A., & Nichita, C. (2005). Evaluating Titan2D mass-flow model using the 1963 Little Tahoma Peak avalanches, Mount Rainier, Washington. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research , 89 – 102.
Appendices

Appendix 1:

Figure 1 Depth for Mount St. Helen case analysis

Appendix 2:

Mount ST. Helens Hazardous Simulations

Figure 2: Simulation of Mount St. Helen

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5ZSK2ANnZ0

Appendix 3:

Figure 3: Simulation images

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/a-Temporal-dynamics-of-net-ecosystem-exchange-for-the-common-overlapping-time-period-of_fig2_50829133

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