Mount St. Helens 30 Years Ago

Mount St. Helens eruption

May 18, 1980 was a day we will all never forget. Who expected the beautiful mountain, where thousands hiked and camped each year, could unleash such deadly force? The Weather Channel commemorates the catastrophic eruption in an anniversary slideshow.

In case you don’t remember the powerful forces released that day, here’s some numbers to think about. A magnitude 5.1 earthquake preceded the collapse of the mountain peak. Pyroclastic  flows wiped out everything in it’s path including 250 miles of forest land and raised Spirit Lake’s water level by 200 feet. 520 million tons of ash swept across the country. 57 people died and over 200 homes were destroyed in the worst volcanic disaster in the United States.

The USGS had been monitoring Mount St. Helens for months. USGS volcanologist David Johnston reported the eruption, but he was one of those who lost their life that day. Still, scientists learned much from the eruption, from data they had never collected before, from a volcano they had been studying prior to the eruption, and a volcano they continue to study today.

May 18 2010 11:24 pm | Volcanoes

Leave a Reply