Thirty years ago today, an eruption changed the face of Mt. St. Helens and the surrounding area forever.
(Please visit the US Forest Service - Mt. St. Helens site for more photos like this one and information.)
At 8:32 am, 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck the mountain, creating an avalanche. As a large portion of the mountain slid away, a blast of pumice and ash erupted from the mountain, and the sound was heard as far away as California. (I was living in Salem, OR at the time.) The blast flattened trees and killed everything in its path in a 200 square mile area. An avalanche of rocks, trees, and mud roared across the land at up to 150 mph. The plume of ash extended ten miles into the sky and circled the globe twice. Fifty-seven people were killed, including the scientist who gave the warning - “This is it!”
Mt. St. Helens erupted several times that year, and I swept ash off our deck on more than one occasion.
However, my most vivid memory comes from the July 22, 1980 eruption. We were in Portland that day and treated to an incredible sight:
Where were you on May 18, 1980?