The most extensive study of the “plumbing” at Mt. St. Helens is planned over the next two years, a joint effort involving the University of Washington, Oregon State University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, Rice University and the U. S. Geological Survey. Kenneth Creager with the U-Dub is the lead researcher on the “Imaging Magma Under Mt. St. Helens” project, and he says that the main goal is to understand where the mountain’s magma comes from. It’s thought that this work could help to bring improvements in the monitoring of volcanoes, along with advance warning systems at Mount Saint Helens and other volcanoes. The work area is huge, going from Mt. Rainier to the north and the Columbia River on the south, and from I-5 on the west to Mt. Adams on the east. The scientists plan to use three separate technologies to map the source of the magma at Mount Saint Helens. It’s thought that the data gathered could bring a better understanding of how volcanoes work, and should provide a much clearer picture of what’s happening underneath our volcano. The study is projected to run through the summer of 2016.