Guest Video: Mount St. Helens — Out of the Ash

Almost half a century ago today, this volcano was in the midst of a VEI 5 tantrum.

I lived on the other side of the continent when the eruption occurred, and had other things to think about then.

Young Me never would have expected to experience a thrill in 2016 when actually seeing the truncated mountain for the first time, looming in the middle distance as our bus approached Portland on I-5 from the south.

That day, St. Helens was wearing a snow-blanket over its shoulders and resembled a hunched-over seated old woman, her back turned to the world.

But by then, I knew its “front” — the north face, active — very well from Forest Service volcano cams and other online sources.

But I could never know it as local residents do — from its past splendor, through fire and ash, to the ongoing greening and recovery.

Here’s more information on recovery studies.

Volcano Cowboys gave me a good understanding of how this one eruption could have such an impact on volcanology.

I’m still reading a more formal report from 2018 on the lessons learned.

  • USGS cam (still image, updated every five minutes).
  • Forest Service cams (currently offline).
  • Global Volcanism Program page.
  • Cascades Volcano Observatory page.
  • Current seismicity. (Don’t panic; St. Helens is always active. At the time of writing, aviation code is Green and ststus Normal.)
  • Information: Johnston Ridge Observatory

    David Johnston, on a ridge five miles from the north face, 13 hours before the blast. Image by Harry Glicken, who died eleven years later at Pinatubo. (Image via Wikimedia)

Featured image: Washington DNR, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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