Mount St. Helens : National Geographic … in memory of May 18


 … 36 years later

Mount St. Helens, Before the Blast … after

Photograph courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Reports are that Mount st. Helen has awakened with ongoing volcanic activity, and possibly spiking

Plumes of smoke rise from the Mount St. Helens crater two years after the blast.

Mount St. Helens looks serene in a photograph taken from the shores of Spirit Lake in Washington State in 1973—a few years before the volcano’s infamous 1980 eruption.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the blast, which killed 57 people and leveled hundreds of square miles of pristine old-growth forest.

“The eruption really caused drastic changes in the forest ecosystem,” said Mark Swanson, a forest ecologist at Washington State University.

Before the eruption, the dense forest cover meant there was little light and low wind speeds in the area. But afterward, Swanson said, “you had a very open system … with a layer of volcanic ash over most of it, varying in depth from hundreds of meters to just a few inches.”

—Ker Than

MORE MOUNT ST. HELENS COVERAGE   Mount St. Helens Still Highly Dangerous, 30 Years Later   Mount St. Helens Pictures: 30 Years Later   Mount St. Helens Interactive: Rebirth of the Blast Zone   “Mountain With a Death Wish” (1981 National Geographic Magazine Article)   Pictures: America’s Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes   Mount St. Helens May Erupt for Decades, Scientists Suggest (2007)

Published May 18, 2010

2 thoughts on “Mount St. Helens : National Geographic … in memory of May 18”

  1. I remember that day well. It hit Spokane about 1:00 PM. It didn’t get dark, it got black and then the ashfall.
    I think we only got like 1″ to 2″ here but that was more then enough to give us a ‘volcano experience’.

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