March 31 - Both craters enlarged as explosions continued. A change in wind direction brought ash to the Kelso-Longview area by noon. To date none of the ash from these explosions has come from new magma, but rather pulverized bits of older rocks that make up the summit.I did and do have very mixed feelings about Harry Truman, but I'll save them for another post. I was trying to figure out when the first juvenile lava was detected in an eruption, as opposed to pre-existing powdered rocks. I seem to remember that brand new lava was detected before the big eruption, though I haven't found confirmation of that yet. It may very well be noted in the chronology above, but I was so thrilled to find it that I've only read the block quoted section above.
The frequency of earthquakes has decreased but the number of larger earthquakes has increased, so the total energy release remained about the same. Among these were two earthquakes of magnitude 4.6. Explosions and earthquakes triggered two avalanches of snow and rock near the Goat Rocks dome.
Cowlitz County Commisioners declared a state of emergency in an attempt to obtain assistance from the Washington National Guard in staffing roadblocks. According to a report in the Longview Daily News, Colonel Val E. McCreary (commander of the WA National Guard) announced that 300 troops, 50 trucks and 3 helicopters were on standby in case Governor Ray ordered evacuations.
The Washington Department of Emergency Services (WADES) pressed the Clark County Amateur Radio Club into service as a backup communications network should the primary network maintained by the USFS fail.
Public response to the activity varied. The Vancouver Columbian reported that USFS personnel had fielded calls from frustrated citizens who could not access their cabins within closed areas while members of the press had been allowed in.
Other calls ranged from gamblers requesting the number of explosions in the previous 24 hours to those blaming the volcano's restlessness on the desecration of Indian graves in the area.
Harry Truman began his climb to media folk-hero status due to extensive coverage in newspapers and television. He is the only person who has refused to leave his home on the south shore of Spirit Lake.
A Longview Daily News article quoted Harry as saying, "I think the whole damn thing is overexaggerated ... Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens are my life ... You couldn't pull me out with a mule team."
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