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After presenting the results to the scientist in charge of CVO, the deformation group began an intensive series of tests to check the validity of the data and the automated computer modeling.The scientist in charge brought up on a computer screen a three-dimensional, interactive hologram, showing version 15.3 of the hazard assessment for Mount Rainier and called in the heads of the other scientific groups.The analysis software detected inflation of part of a deep magma chamber 15 km beneath the earth’s surface.The deformation alert triggered several immediate actions.The scientist in charge did not have to be reminded that Mount Rainier posed the highest risk of any volcano in the continental United States.Rainier had been a high-priority volcano for study since the 1990s, and hazard assessments had been revised and updated numerous times since then.The motions were so small ( not have been recognized by looking at the data from an individual instrument.
The scientist in charge scanned three-dimensional displays showing the extent of a worst-case scenario directed blast and evaluated the probabilities.The committee hopes that if a major eruption were to occur in the United States in the year 2010, the USGS VHP would be prepared to respond in a manner more similar to Prologue 2 than to Prologue 1.This chapter discusses in greater detail the committee’s vision for the VHP exemplified in Prologue 2.The nominal annual probability of an eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) greater than or equal to 2 was 4 percent.
(Such an eruption would be classified as explosive and involve roughly one million cubic meters of ash.) The new information would increase this probability significantly.Based on these results, the team reported to the scientist in charge that the deep magma chamber beneath the volcano had indeed swelled in size and changed in shape.Given the available data, they were able to estimate the size, shape, depth, and location of the magma body.Together these scientists were able to create high-resolution images of subsurface structure and time-dependent changes in rock and fluid properties.