View Full Version : Mount St. Helens Eruption Anniversary

Crispin's Crispian
05-18-2010, 02:33 PM
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens in southern Washington. By death toll standards, it doesn't rank very high as a natural disaster (57 people were killed). However, it was the most deadly and costly volcanic eruption in U.S. history. Incredibly, over a cubic mile of earth was launched airborne, and the mountain itself lost over 1,300 feet in elevation. The eruption itself was roughly 16 times more powerful than the atomic explosion at Hiroshima.

Perhaps as important, the devastated landscape has turned into an amazing ecological laboratory, and the eruption revolutionized vulcanology as as science.

On a more personal note, this was one of those events that leaves an indelible mark on your life. We lived about 50 miles south of the mountain at the time of the eruption. Even though I was only four years old, I remember watching the ash cloud climbing into the sky, then running in to watch the latest footage on TV. I remember having to wear dust masks when we'd travel to certain areas around the region, waking up to ash covering everything as a consequence of later eruptions.

Actually, one of my earliest memories is driving in the car with my mother and catching a glimpse of the snow-covered mountain as we drove down a hill. This was some time before the eruption, and I can remember my mom commenting on how beautiful Mount St. Helens was, and how it was the "perfect mountain" in shape and symmetry. It's a good memory to have, because it will never look that same way again.

05-18-2010, 02:40 PM
Its a great hike if anyone is ever in that area. I highly recommend it.

05-18-2010, 03:00 PM

heh.. heh... mount... eruption... heh heh...

05-18-2010, 04:59 PM
Just wait till Ranier blows...

It's amazing what sticks with you when you are 4.

My old man was 4 when Pearl Harbor was attacked (Granpa was stationed there) and it never left him. He had something like 250 WWII books in his library when he died. We watched literally every documentary that came on TV (and re-watched it). Both my sister and I were browbeaten into reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as the "optional" book for summer reading going into 7th grade (boy was that a fun summer =\ )

05-19-2010, 04:41 AM
Just wait till Ranier blows...Will that really be as impressive as Yellowstone is going to be?

05-19-2010, 09:17 AM
Will that really be as impressive as Yellowstone is going to be?

No. But we have a better chance of seeing Ranier blow in our lifetime.

Gilshalos Sedai
05-19-2010, 09:39 AM
I remember the articles in the Weekly Reader about the eruption. I was living in New Jersey and in the second grade at the time, I think.

05-19-2010, 09:43 AM
Its a great hike if anyone is ever in that area. I highly recommend it.

I concur.


Taken from the summit in 1999. That's Rainier in the background too.

05-19-2010, 09:44 AM
I have nearly the same photo lying around somewhere...except its me and a girl in it, not you of course.

05-19-2010, 09:49 AM
i've got enough pics from the summit that i could scan them and put them into a big panoramic (it was 1999, was still using a 35 mm film camera), been meaning to for years since i did that climb.

it was one of the best day hikes i ever did.

if i had an image that didn't have anyone in it, i'd have used that instead. maybe i'll finally get the panoramic pics scanned and photoshopped together soon and come back and post it.