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iMUSH is a four year collaborative research project involving several institutions and supported by the GeoPRISMS and EarthScope Programs of the US National Science Foundation to illuminate the architecture of the greater Mount St. Helens magmatic system from slab to surface.

To determine the architecture of magmatic systems in general, including the extent and characteristics of highly crystalline magma bodies, and to resolve major tectonic controls on volcanism along the Cascade arc, we are using a variety of geophysical imaging techniques (magnetotelluric, high-resolution active source seismic imaging and passive seismic monitoring and imaging) integrated with geochemical-petrological data to image and interpret the crust and upper mantle in the greater Mount St. Helens area.

The experiment is underway. Passive seismic instruments are now installed. The active seismic experiment took place in late July. The magnetoteluric installations are being done in a leap frog distribution over the next two field seasons.  The geologic sampling will be done as weather and access allow.  The field portion of the experiement will be finished in 2016 with analysis and reports during the following year.

NOTE:  As of spring, 2016 the experiment is nearing the end and results are starting to be produced.  As different researchers provide summaries of their results we will post those on a new sction to be started soon..

Latest Blog Posts

Last night of shooting a great success

Steve Malone
August 1, 2014
The night of July 31, 2014 saw 8 successful shots fired in the iMUSH active seismic experiment. Again a large distribution of sensors were in the ground and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network recorded and located the shots as before. For some example seismograms and discussion......

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First part of Active Seismic done

Steve Malone
July 26, 2014
After the first massive deployment and two nights of shooting the active experiment is half way over. For a few details of the massive effort.....

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Realtime recordings of the active shots

Steve Malone
July 20, 2014
During two nights this week and one next, shot holes will be fired for recording on thousands of seismic recorders. To see them arrive on the permanent PNSN stations.....

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Status Updates

Spring 2016 Seismic service run completed

April 20, 2016

We visited 29 of the 70 passive seismic sites between April 15-17, with two teams of 2 people based in the Randle and Kelso areas. A stormier winter with more snow meant more possibilities for problems, but there was no major damage found to the stations. Several had issues that were corrected, and they should stay running until we remove them in August. We did encounter a couple of landslides and several trees across roads, which required extra time walking or driving around, or sawing through trees when needed. A couple of sites we were hopeful to get to had too much snow to drive to, so we'll wait until July to access those. We only had one flat tire, which is about average for the roads we were on and the vehicles we were using. Overall, a successful service run, with beautiful weather and quite a few sightings of deer and elk and volcanoes!

Fall 2015 service run complete

November 1, 2015

We completed our fall service of the broadband array between Oct. 5-10, 2015. We had four field teams spread between Randle, Kelso, and Trout Lake. Everything went pretty smoothly, despite a couple rainy days. We almost made it a whole service run without a flat tire until we were foiled with ~4 sites to go!  These last sites were completed within days; one requiring a mountain bike trip of 1 km.


Main summer service run started

June 28, 2015

Six field drew headed out today to service all passive seismic stations, many of which have not been visited since last fall. With some novice crew along today was devoted to getting three vehicles loaded with all gear possibly needed and doing training on two easy to reach sites. We hope to be done in a little over a week.

Passive seismic array serviced

October 24, 2014

Despite some serious wet weather in the area over the past week crews from UW and CVO completed a total service run collecting data from all passive seismic stations.  Minor problems with a few stations were corrected or repaired and many stations setup with enough memory to go through the long winter.  Many of the data sets have already been uploaded to the IRIS DMC and the rest should be within days. 

Third set of shots to be done Thur. night

July 30, 2014

Thursday, July 31 will again be hopping and popping in the Mount St. Helens area with the third and final set of shots to take place over night.  Again some 2,500 instruments have been installed in the area and one can view the seismic records on the PNSN permanent stations in near realtime.

Press release about Active Seismic Experiment

July 17, 2014

The Active seismic experiment is on for next week.  Lots of details are available from the official Press Release from Rice University or the University of Washington.

Realtime seismic recordings of shots next week being planned

July 16, 2014

Watch for a blog entry soon to give lots of information about watching the seismograms from the permanent Mount St. Helens monitoring network of the PNSN for the active seismic experiment shots.

Final passive installs next week and start of active experiment

July 12, 2014

The last 6 passive seismic stations will be installed by two crews next week and a service run to collect data and check operations from most of the previously installed stations will take place late in the week and weekend.  On the active seismic side, a large crew of field personnel (mostly students) will arrive next Friday for training and then deploying instruments next Sunday through Tuesday.

Installation of passive seismic stations is done

July 3, 2014

Sixty-three passive seismic stations are in the ground and recording and all field crews have returned to their home bases.  Seven more stations are to be added in a couple of weeks once a few additional permits are in hand and the snow melts at higher elevations.  A more complete summary, some photos and a map will be shortly forthcoming in a blog.  The next big push is the active seismic experiment to start in late July.  Rumor is that crews are starting to arrive in the area but details are so far sketchy.

5 volcanoes in one day

July 1, 2014

One of the last few stations left is installed is just west of Mount St. Helens. From near the site, on the way in five different volcanoes could be spotted.