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Aaron747
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Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 2:26 am

So as most Americans know, May 18, 1980 was a pretty eventful day in the Pacific Northwest, and the most significant volcanic event in the continental US in our lifetimes (so far). As a fan of geology who often went exploring the Cascades as a kid, I had to only obsessively read about it 10 years after the fact.

Was anyone here in SEA, GEG or PDX areas at the time and remember how things went down?

For those that have not visited the present-day national monument - I highly recommend. It’s incredible to witness nature’s recovery machinery in action.

Mt. St Helens sometime in the 70s in better times

Image
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Newark727
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:00 am

Ten years before I was born, but I recall Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes talking about it in elementary school, as a recent and contemporary example to illustrate the things he was talking about.
 
Okie
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:22 am

I was young at well but remember the videos on the news and NOVA that were quite impressive.
What I found interesting was several days afterward due to the wind flow there was volcano dust that would settle in OKC.
Easily evident on hoods of light colored automobiles if that sat in one spot for very long.
Hard to imagine the amount of mass that was put into the atmosphere.

I have also noticed that they use the dust from the Yellowstone Volcano 630,000 years ago to date strata in geological sites tens of thousands of kilometers away. Interesting source to date things.


Okie
 
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:33 am

I used to hike all through that country. The first eruption missed our town, the second one week later didn't. What a mess cleaning up ash. There were major campgrounds on the lake shore closest to the mountain. From there a good road went a short distance up to the glaciers. Before that in 1962 the Columbus Day Storm (with about the force of a category 3 hurricane) went up the Williamette Valley and downed huge number of centuries old timber on its way to the Puget Sound area.
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Aaron747
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:40 am

Okie wrote:
I was young at well but remember the videos on the news and NOVA that were quite impressive.
What I found interesting was several days afterward due to the wind flow there was volcano dust that would settle in OKC.
Easily evident on hoods of light colored automobiles if that sat in one spot for very long.
Hard to imagine the amount of mass that was put into the atmosphere.

I have also noticed that they use the dust from the Yellowstone Volcano 630,000 years ago to date strata in geological sites tens of thousands of kilometers away. Interesting source to date things.


Okie


Indeed hard to imagine, though volcanologists will often say this one was actually a pretty small event :wow:
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Aaron747
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 4:10 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
I used to hike all through that country. The first eruption missed our town, the second one week later didn't. What a mess cleaning up ash. There were major campgrounds on the lake shore closest to the mountain. From there a good road went a short distance up to the glaciers. Before that in 1962 the Columbus Day Storm (with about the force of a category 3 hurricane) went up the Williamette Valley and downed huge number of centuries old timber on its way to the Puget Sound area.


Some relatives who spent a lot of time up there before I was around always said the area was just wonderful because it was never too crowded.

How long did it take folks downwind to get all the ash cleared away?
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 2:36 pm

The 2nd major eruption, at least for western Lewis County, was one week later, also a Sunday. Only 1/4 inch of ash or so, down town residents had to shovel, then sweep, and then wash down their sidewalks and roads, otherwise every car going by raised a new storm! Schools closed for the year. It was a 1-2 month recovery. School districts checked in with Chehalis and Centralia this year - how did you close out schools, deal with grades and colleges, do graduation, it turned out to be a dress rehearsal for our current pandemic. We no longer live in the area, but go back every few years. Touring both sides of the mountain (roads to not directly connect) takes at least two days. We always enjoy it.
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 2:55 pm

The first time I learned about the volcano was in 3rd grade (I believe it was 1997), and only because I got bored in class and read the appendices of my science book, which had a full description of the eruption. Pretty remarkable seeing the before and after pictures, and even how Spirit Lake ended up like.
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:11 pm

This is one of the better before/after images I have seen. It is from 2015:
Image

I always remember the haunting pictures from photographers who were on site and took pictures as it happened. Several died.
https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/01/t ... nt-st.html

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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 3:55 pm

I was living in Chicago at the time, my sister lived in Goldendale, WA and I had a visit planned. She had a great view of St Helens from her property so I was hoping to catch the eruption if/when it happened. I was 4 days late so I missed the big show. Flew into PDX and it was still fuming and had a nice view from the plane. I remember when we landed that they were hosing down the tarmac and there were ash piles all over where the plows had pushed it off the runways etc. A couple days after I arrived we drove to Yakima and it was surreal - huge piles pf ash everywhere - reminded me of Chicago after a snowstorm except the piles were gray not white. Lots of people were wearing face masks because the ash was getting kicked up into the air. My sister's husband was a logger and knew a lot of backroads so we got as close as we could to the mountain (still outside the exclusion zone).
 
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 4:15 pm

Some interesting geometry, the lake moved, say less than a mile to the northeast, and up elevation a few hundred feet. You can somewhat see it in the above picture.
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Aaron747
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 4:52 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Some interesting geometry, the lake moved, say less than a mile to the northeast, and up elevation a few hundred feet. You can somewhat see it in the above picture.


Holy moly - scientists’ account of what happened to the lake in the initial eruption sequence is mind boggling. The force of the landslide debris forced most of the lake’s water out onto surrounding hillsides as an 850-foot wave, depositing 430,000,000 cubic meters of debris material into the lakebed. This would have all happened fairly fast given the speed of the pyroclastic debris cloud.
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Tugger
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 5:27 pm

Aaron747 wrote:
[Holy moly - scientists’ account of what happened to the lake in the initial eruption sequence is mind boggling. The force of the landslide debris forced most of the lake’s water out onto surrounding hillsides as an 850-foot wave, depositing 430,000,000 cubic meters of debris material into the lakebed. This would have all happened fairly fast given the speed of the pyroclastic debris cloud.

Here is the initial landslide and displacement:
Image
From the link in my post above.

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Aaron747
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 5:31 pm

Tugger wrote:
Aaron747 wrote:
[Holy moly - scientists’ account of what happened to the lake in the initial eruption sequence is mind boggling. The force of the landslide debris forced most of the lake’s water out onto surrounding hillsides as an 850-foot wave, depositing 430,000,000 cubic meters of debris material into the lakebed. This would have all happened fairly fast given the speed of the pyroclastic debris cloud.

Here is the initial landslide and displacement:
Image
From the link in my post above.

Tugg


That animation is always impressive no matter how many times viewed. There was a documentary I saw once that had jittery Cessna/chopper footage not far from the mountain just a few minutes after the main event kicked off.

USGS researchers postulated that the swollen north flank was structurally weakened because it was actually rotting out from the inside.
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casinterest
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 5:36 pm

Aaron747 wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Aaron747 wrote:
[Holy moly - scientists’ account of what happened to the lake in the initial eruption sequence is mind boggling. The force of the landslide debris forced most of the lake’s water out onto surrounding hillsides as an 850-foot wave, depositing 430,000,000 cubic meters of debris material into the lakebed. This would have all happened fairly fast given the speed of the pyroclastic debris cloud.

Here is the initial landslide and displacement:
Image
From the link in my post above.

Tugg


That animation is always impressive no matter how many times viewed. There was a documentary I saw once that had jittery Cessna/chopper footage not far from the mountain just a few minutes after the main event kicked off.

USGS researchers postulated that the swollen north flank was structurally weakened because it was actually rotting out from the inside.



Here is a good video of it all ,

I copied the URL with the full sequence of what you have.

https://youtu.be/4L1N-FDrGLk?t=763
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Tue May 19, 2020 6:23 pm

The amount of rock/soil moved in that video is truly gobsmacking, mother nature surly does rule.
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Aaron747
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Re: Mt St Helens Blows Her Top - 40 Years Ago Today

Wed May 20, 2020 1:40 am

readytotaxi wrote:
The amount of rock/soil moved in that video is truly gobsmacking, mother nature surly does rule.


It really is - we perfected TNT in laboratories, mother nature just throws magma and groundwater together and KABOOM.
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