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