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Mount St. Helens....25 Years Later  
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Tomorrow, May 18th, at 8:32am Pacific Time, marks the 25th anniversary of the "Big Eruption" at Mt. St. Helens, in SW Washington State.

Following two months of reawakening activity, and a huge bulge that grew at a rate of 9 feet a day on the northeast side, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook the mountain, unleashing the largest avalanche in recorded history. While there is no live footage, several still pictures were taken of the landslide sequence, which are amazing. Following the landslide which rose Spirit Lake by some 200 feet, a massive lateral blast shot out of the mountain at a speed near Mach 1 and leveled the forest for miles, destroying some 230 square miles. Countless birds and fish were destroyed, along with 57 people, most of whom were outside the "red-zone", and had no idea the mountain had erupted until they say a towering black cloud coming at them. The famous Harry Truman, who lived at the base of the mountain on the shores of Spirit Lake and refused to leave, is now buried under 200 feet of mud and the new Spirit Lake. They didn't hear the blast up close to the mountain, all they could hear were the falling trees snapping like toothpicks.

The mountain, once 9,677 feet, was reduced to 8,365 feet and left with a horseshoe crater a mile wide. Once the initial lateral blast was over, a vertical column of ash rose to 80,000 feet and circled the earth in 15 days. The eruption lasted 9 hours in all. Since then, there were several more smaller eruptions in the months to follow, and a lava dome began growing shortly thereafter, stopping in 1986. There were swarms of earthquakes in 1998, 2001, and then again last September which brought upon the new lava dome which officially appeared on Oct. 11th, 2004. The first steam eruption in years took place on Friday, Oct. 1st, 2004, and I personally witnessed the Oct. 5th eruption from start to finish...truly amazing...something I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

I have been fascinated by Mt. St. Helens for 25 years...having visited nearly every year and hiked many of the trails in the vicinity. There is nothing quite like standing in the middle of the pumice plain on the Truman trail #207, looking up at the mountain and imagining what happened that day. There are many other views, such as from Harry's Ridge, 5 miles east of the Johnston Ridge Observatory, allowing a "dead-on" view of the crater. It's an amazing place, and if you're ever in SEA or PDX on a spotting trip, I recommend spending a day at Mt. St. Helens as well. It's exit #49 off of I-5, and from either SEA or PDX, it's about 3 1/2 hours to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, though there are centers closer to the freeway. All in all, allow for a full day...contact me via my profile for more detailed information and advice on what to see, where to go, based on your time constraint. Whether or not you hike the trails, it's worth the visit to the centers to learn more about what happened, and see the rebirth that has taken place in a relatively (geologically speaking) short period of time, in the last 25 years.

Back to the 1980 eruption...who lived in this area before, during, and immediately after? Share your thoughts and stories!

[Edited 2005-05-17 21:40:25]

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCON207 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 292 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1462 times:

Its only a matter of time before it blows again but WHEN?
Quakes have been reported now for some time and the fact a new bulge has appeared makes it even worse.
A chilling reminder of whats going on about 30 miles beneath our very feet and should never be taken for granted.
Mother Nature is an awesome force and it reminds me of just how insignificant we humans really are compared to earths natural firepower.

Volcanoes have always interested me. Would love to visit the Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.

Thanks for putting up the post. It's brought back memories of when I first saw the breaking headlines 25 years ago and all the follow up documentaries that have been featured on this restless mountain.
No doubt the vulcanolgists will be excited, but very wary of the danger it poses once more and also the other volcanoes like Mount Redoubt will be under close observation too.
Regards
Sue  Smile
xxx



Being ill sucks. Never take life for granted!!
User currently offlineAzoresLover From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 759 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1453 times:
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I was living in the area at the time. When it blew, we ran outside onto the front lawn, looked at the sky, and had no idea what the heck we were hearing!! It was awesome...I'll NEVER hear anything like that again in my life, I'm sure. There were huge BOOMS crashing across the sky...there were tearing sounds clear across the sky, like somebody ripping denim jeans, and your eyes could follow the sound as it shot across the sky. We had no idea...we were wondering if we were under attack or something, but the noise was far more than any military ordinance I'd heard before. Finally, minutes later, the Seattle station put the news on TV that St Helens had just blown up. We thought, THAT'S what we heard!!! It's almost indescribable!!

We also went up into the blast zone as soon as it was opened up, I think it was close to two years later. It was totally unreal!!! It would take a lot of time here to describe what the zone was like, and our impressions. I'm so glad that we got up into the zone before it was "improved" and opened for tourists. The terrain we visited was surreal!!



Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13198 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1452 times:

I have visited the Mt. St. Helens' Volcanic Monument site 2 times, in 1995 and last September (2004-3 weeks before it started acting up again). I ended up spending most of a day each time and found it to be an excellent experience. It is sobering to realize what happened there and almost unimanagable to conceive of such natural destruction. My father and mother visited the site in about 1981 or 1982 (their return UA flight SEA to the NYC area was affected by the ATC strike). My father even took a helicoptor ride over the area then!
As noted, it is only about a 2 hour ride to the enterance of the site from Seattle and Portland. You are also not far from Mt. Rainier, the Columbia River area (between WA and OR) and other senic areas as well as the Boeing plants.


User currently offlineGreyhound From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1438 times:

Quoting CON207 (Reply 1):
Quakes have been reported now for some time and the fact a new bulge has appeared makes it even worse.
A chilling reminder of whats going on about 30 miles beneath our very feet and should never be taken for granted.
Mother Nature is an awesome force and it reminds me of just how insignificant we humans really are compared to earths natural firepower.

I don't mean to get way off topic, but does anyone have any thoughts on what a Mt. St. Helens sized eruption of Mt. Rainier would do to the Seattle area? I make the obvious assumption that life would suck as I know it.



29th, Let's Go!
User currently offlineAzoresLover From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 759 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1432 times:
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All you have to do to imagine what would happen to the Seattle area is to realize that the whole valley, from Seattle on down through Kent, Auburn, and on to the mountain is the remains of a huge eruption of Rainier that flowed all the way to Puget Sound. All the cities and towns in that valley are built on top of the flow left from that huge eruption, I believe it was about 10,000 years ago...very recent in geologic terms! Today, a repeat of such an eruption would completely wipe out everything in the valley, right up to Puget Sound. It would be the most disastrous natural event in recorded history, or at least very close to it!


Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
User currently offlineAzoresLover From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 759 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1418 times:
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Here's a link to an article about what would happen if/when Rainier erupts.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/mount_st__helens_rainier



Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
User currently offlineJetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7438 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1413 times:
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It'll happen again tomorrow at 0852 PDT


Made from jets!
User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11797 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1410 times:

Blech... Every year in the week leading up to May 18, that is all the media outlests around Portland talk about. There is a way more important event that happens 4 days later. THAT should be the real news story....

GO CANUCKS!!

[Edited 2005-05-17 23:53:34]


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineStarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3410 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1387 times:

If you haven't seen supervolcano that would scare the crap out of you as that would have cataclysmic worldwide effects and could very will cause our extinction if Yellowstone erupted like that.

As devastating as Mt. St. Helens was, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 was far bigger and I find that eruption far more interesting because it actally released enough material to cool the planet by a full degrees farenheit. I haven't read anything about Mt. St. Helens having noticable world effects, if anyone has any info on the global effects of Mt. St. Helens, please post it.



Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1374 times:

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 9):
As devastating as Mt. St. Helens was, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 was far bigger and I find that eruption far more interesting because it actally released enough material to cool the planet by a full degrees farenheit. I haven't read anything about Mt. St. Helens having noticable world effects, if anyone has any info on the global effects of Mt. St. Helens, please post it.

Didn't know that about Mt. Pinatubo, that is...the part about being big enough to lower the global temp. Krakatoa, which erupted about 200 years ago and featured on Discovery's "Pompeii of the East" affected global temps in a very big way, especially in Europe, thousands of miles away! However, lessons learned after the MSH blast in 1980 helped volcanologists learn a great deal more, and using those lessons, they helped authorities in the Phillipines evacuate people in the area before Mt. Pinatubo erupted, saving thousands of lives.

The 5/18/1980 eruption was actually not the biggest of MSH's past eruptions, at the visitor's center, it shows the extent of its prior eruptions and the ashfall distribution. When Mt. Mazama (now referred to as Crater Lake) erupted hundreds (thousands, perhaps) of years ago, it used to be about 12,000 feet in elevation, and was far more devastating, and the 5/80 eruption was PALE in comparison. What sets the 5/18/80 blast apart was the initial lateral blast that caused such a wide area of devastation...unusual for a "normal" volcanic eruption.

I just learned yesterday that Mt. St. Helens actually has a "twin" on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. Very similar series of events leading to a catastrophic eruption in 1955-56 (with a landslide also on the north side of the mountain) that resulted in a horseshoe-shaped crater like MSH currently has. Only difference is that his Russian volcano has nearly rebuilt itself, and may offer clues to what MSH may look like several years from now, considering the new dome growth.


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