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Monitoring volcanic gases is very exciting, especially at the very precursory phase of unrest.
The primary objective in gas monitoring is to determine changes in the release of certain gases from a volcano. Such changes can be used with other monitoring information to provide eruption warnings and to improve our understanding of how volcanoes work.
When the magma is very deep beneath a volcano, it has a lot of gas dissolved in it. When that magma starts to rise toward the surface, the gases will come out of the magma. If this happens very quickly, the volcano might erupt explosively. At volcanoes like Mount St. Helens, it is important to monitor the gases on a routine basis because at any time, there might be an injection of gas-rich magma from below which might cause the volcano to enter into another eruptive phase.
Title: Volcano Monitoring Animation #2: Gas Monitoring
This animation shows how gases behave in magma and how an airplane-mounted UV spectrometer can measure gases in a volcanic plume.
Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Date Taken: 1/1/2012
Video Producer: Jenda Johnson , U.S. Geological Survey-Cascades Volcano Observatory
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Additional Video Credits:
These animations were created for the Mount St. Helens visitor center in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service. Animation by Jenda Johnson, narration by Cynthia Werner, geologist, US Geological Survey.
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