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Thursday, July 10, 2008 - Page updated at 11:05 AM

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Mount St. Helens back to 'normal'

An eruption in the crater of Mount St. Helens is definitely over, so the U.S. Geological Survey has lowered the alert level for the volcano to "normal."

VANCOUVER, Wash. —

An eruption in the crater of Mount St. Helens is definitely over, so the U.S. Geological Survey has lowered the alert level for the volcano to "normal."

Five months have passed with no earthquakes, gas emissions or ground deformation.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver said in Thursday's statement that the lava dome in the crater remains hot in places and is capable of minor explosions that could spread dust for tens of miles downwind. Small avalanches and mudflows also are possible.

The eruption started in the fall of 2004 and pushed 125 million cubic yards of lava into the crater.

In the past 28 years, lava has replaced about 7 percent of the mountaintop that was removed in the 1980 blast.

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