Did you hear about "new" magma chambers under Mount St. Helens? Did a bunch of people start talking like "ZOMG she's gonna blow!!!"? Did you get really super-excited thinking, "Wow, she'll erupt again soon and Dana will be there to blog it for us!"?

I'm so sorry if any bubbles get burst by this news, but Mount St. Helens isn't really more explosive than we thought. She's still pretty much the same. I mean, yeah, she'll erupt again. She's a young and active volcano. She has some growing to do. We might even get to see some hawt dome-building activity in our lifetimes, if we're really lucky. But she's most probably not going to suddenly become a supervolcano and wipe out Washington State.

Let volcano expert Erik Klemetti explain, or at least sum up. There's lots at the link, but here's a little bit to take away right now:

We haven’t added new bodies of magma, we haven’t increased the likelihood of another eruption, we just understand the architecture of the crust better now.

There isn’t even full agreement on what the data might mean—some of what is being interpreted as “partially melted” crust may actually be metamorphosed sediment. Seismic data is highly interpretative, so trying to deduce exactly what it is might be akin to trying to groping into a bag and trying to figure out everything in it without seeing anything.

I'm sure Mount St. Helens has plenty of surprises in store for us. We're still only beginning to understand the volcanoes around us. But rest assured, this new information is in the realm of, "Oooo, neat, now we know a bit more!" and not "OH NOES WE'RE ALL GONNA DIIIIEEEE!!!"

You can bet, though, that I'll be all over her if she starts steaming again. I promise!

Image shows Mount St. Helens looking over Silver Lake. Clouds are rising from its summit. One set looks like it's emerging from inside her in a lazy, soft-white eruption cloud. A few more oblong clouds further up make it look like she's been trying to blow smoke rings all morning!

Mount St. Helens with super-awesome clouds. No, she's not erupting! Photo by Dana Hunter.