Question Sheet: A Volcano Wakes Up


Before reading:

  1. How are earthquakes and volcanoes related? 
  2. Why can volcanoes be found in some areas of the world but not in others?

During reading:

  1. What happened at Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980? 
  2. What gases are scientists looking for when they fly over Mount St. Helens? 
  3. Describe a harmonic tremor. 
  4. In what ways are scientists observing and studying the volcano? 
  5. What might happen if the new lava dome in the crater of Mount St. Helens collapses?

After reading:

  1. What would be some of the responsibilities of geologists studying volcanoes? What would they look for? What equipment would be helpful? 
  2. If Mount St. Helens erupted again as it did in 1980, how might the surrounding area be affected? In what ways might countries around the world feel the effects of such an eruption? 
  3. Besides volcanoes, what other natural occurrences might cause mountains to form or disappear? 
  4. In what ways might a volcanic eruption affect the environment?


  1. Has there ever been an earthquake near where you live? If so, when was the last recorded tremor? 
  2. To which countries of the world (or states of the United States) could you travel to see an active volcano? Pick one country or state where you could visit such a volcano and describe how you would get from your own town to the volcano’s location.


  1. Imagine that you are a TV reporter describing events at Mount St. Helens. Write a script for what you would say on TV after officials decided to move people farther away from the mountain on Oct. 2, a day after the volcano gave off a burst of ash and steam. 
  2. Look in your library or on the Internet to find an example of another famous volcano eruption. See, for example Volcano World at (University of North Dakota). Write a brief report comparing the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption with an eruption at the volcano you chose.


Mount St. Helens rises 8,363 feet above sea level. What is the mountain’s height in meters?