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Archive for Tuesday, September 28, 2004

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September 28, 2004

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Seattle

Earthquakes rattle volcano per minute

Small earthquakes rattled Mount St. Helens at the rate of one or two a minute Monday, and seismologists were working to determine the significance of some of the most intense seismic activity in nearly 20 years.

Early tests of gas samples collected above the volcano by helicopter Monday did not show unusually high levels of carbon dioxide or sulfur.

"This tells us that we are probably not yet seeing magma moving up in the system," said Jeff Wynn, chief scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Vancouver, Wash. He noted additional tests are necessary to better define whether there's magma moving under the mountain's crater.

Scientists are trying to figure out what is going on beneath the 925-foot-high dome of hardened lava within the mountain's gaping crater. They want to know whether the quakes are the result of water seeping into the mountain or magma. In either case, they'll continue to watch the volcano about 50 miles away.

New York City

Lawsuit alleges students forced to strip

A school employee forced four fourth-grade boys accused of stealing a teacher's ring to strip to their underwear and jump up and down, the boys' parents alleged in a federal lawsuit Monday.

The parents said the boys were pulled from a Bronx gym class in a special education school, and taken to a private room. There, the mothers said, an employee who worked as a liaison between parents and the school intimidated the boys about going to jail if they didn't cooperate with the search.

The women appeared with their attorneys Monday at a Manhattan news conference to announce the filing of a civil suit in U.S. District Court seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

The mothers said the incident happened April 2 at the Walter J. Damrosch School. Two of the children were 10, and two were 11.

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