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Magma rising in Mount St. Helens volcano...

(by Eric M. Johnson, Reuters) -- Magma levels are slowly rebuilding inside Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington state that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, although there was no sign of an impending eruption, U.S. scientists said.

The roughly 8,300-foot volcano erupted in an explosion of hot ash and gas on May 18, 1980, spewing debris over some 230 square miles and causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. Entire forests were crushed and river systems altered in the blast, which began with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake.

"The magma reservoir beneath Mount St. Helens has been slowly re-pressurizing since 2008," the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement on Wednesday. "It is likely that re-pressurization is caused by (the) arrival of a small amount of additional magma 4 to 8 km (2.5 to 5 miles) beneath the surface."

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