Environment: New Life Under the Volcano

Hikers and scientists glimpse a mountain on the mend

In the seven years since Mount St. Helens exploded in a spume of gas, ash and pumice, there have been 24 additional eruptions at the volatile peak in the Cascade Range. The last, a small explosive belch of magma that added 85 ft. to the height of the lava dome inside the crater, occurred eight months ago. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service, cautious guardian of the 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, has decided to let the general public have a closer look at a postvolcanic environment. Since early May, some 100 climbers a day have been issued...