Analyses have been made of gases in clouds apparently emanating from Mount St. Helens. Despite appearances, most of the water in these clouds does not issue from the volcano. Even directly above a large fumarole ??D and ?? 18O data indicate that only half the water can come from the volcano. Isotopic and chemical evidence also shows the steam in the volcano (-33.0 per mol ??D) from which a condensate of 0.2 N HCI was obtained is not a major cause of the explosions. The steam in the volcano is derived from a metamorphic brine in the underlying Tertiary meta andesite. The gas that caused the explosive eruptions is carbon dioxide. ?? 1984.