We present a new P-wave velocity model for Mount St. Helens using local earthquake data recorded by the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Stations and Cascades Volcano Observatory since the 18 May 1980 eruption. These data were augmented with records from a dense array of 19 temporary stations deployed during the second half of 2005. Because the distribution of earthquakes in the study area is concentrated beneath the volcano and within two nearly linear trends, we used a graded inversion scheme to compute a coarse-grid model that focused on the regional structure, followed by a fine-grid inversion to improve spatial resolution directly beneath the volcanic edifice. The coarse-grid model results are largely consistent with earlier geophysical studies of the area; we find high-velocity anomalies NW and NE of the edifice that correspond with igneous intrusions and a prominent low-velocity zone NNW of the edifice that corresponds with the linear zone of high seismicity known as the St. Helens Seismic Zone. This low-velocity zone may continue past Mount St. Helens to the south at depths below 5??km. Directly beneath the edifice, the fine-grid model images a low-velocity zone between about 2 and 3.5??km below sea level that may correspond to a shallow magma storage zone. And although the model resolution is poor below about 6??km, we found low velocities that correspond with the aseismic zone between about 5.5 and 8??km that has previously been modeled as the location of a large magma storage volume. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.
Additional publication details
VP Structure of Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA, imaged with local earthquake tomography