Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mt. St. Helens, May 18, 1980

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?

21 comments:

The Old Silly said...

Wow - you actually caught that on film? Glad you were in Portland ...

Where was I? Probably in some motel on the road with my rock and roll band back in those days. I remember hearing the news ... terrible.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

We were on our first international assignment and living in Taipei, Taiwan. Hard to believe it was so long ago!

Karen Walker said...

Didn't realize you were in Portland at that time. I didn't arrive there until 1984. In 1980, I was living in NYC, running a small public relations firm and still recovering from losing custody of my son.
Karen

Mason Canyon said...

An incredible experience. I was working at a newspaper. Remember hearing the news and hard to image what was actually happening.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Michele Emrath said...

Wow. Amazing! Beautiful in its way, you know?

Um, I was three months old. :)

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

KarenG said...

We were living in Illinois and I don't remember a lot of news about it. 57 people killed? That's astounding. Your post makes me want to learn more about what happened.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Think I was in Ohio at the time. Amazing you captured that eruption on film!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Marvin, I did! Negatives are long since lost, but I still have five photos.

Michele - LOL! I was fourteen at the time.

Karen I always wondered how much the rest of the USA heard about it. I mean, it was THE news story all year in Oregon.

Helen Ginger said...

Funny thing is I was in San Antonio. Where I am again today!

Helen
Straight From Hel

arlee bird said...

Gosh, I was having my own emotional volcanic eruption then. Separated from my first wife, I was staying with my parents in East Tennessee trying to figure out how to fix my marraige and getting ready to move to Richmond, VA where she had gone with my son. They were traumatic times and I barely noticed the volcano I guess.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I was nearing my 9th birthday, and in Grade IV.
One month and five days after 18th May, on 23rd June, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi's younger and favourite son died in an air crash. That is the first "date memory" that I have.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Lee, you were a little busy at the time...

Jemi Fraser said...

I can't believe it was so long ago! I remember it happening, but don't remember when or where I was :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I was in elementary school, but followed it closely!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Jai Joshi said...

Diane, that is an incredible photo! What a sight...

Jai

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good for you, Elizabeth.

Thanks, Jai! Wish I still had the negatives...

Creative Chronicler said...

Hard to believe it's been 30 yrs. Where does the time go?

Stephen Tremp said...

I was in the great state of Michigan, just a punk kid trying to be cool and find my way. Cable was just installed in our neighborhood so it was fun to watch this event around the clock.

Stephen Tremp

L. Diane Wolfe said...

CC, I have no idea!

Stephen, we'd gotten cable the year before, and being so close, it was the only thing on for months.

Jan Morrison said...

I know EXACTLY where I was. My best friend and I had left Zeballos, where we lived with our husbands and kids, to go down island (Vancouver Island) to take a logging course. We were trying to get hired on and the logging company didn't want to hire women. So we went to logging school. We were there for one excruciating week and then we went to Vancouver for the weekend to stay at my aunt Beth's house. While there we went out with my cousin and his wife and drank way too much trying to prove we were worthy loggers I guess. My cousin's wife thought it would be a good idea to cut my hair and so she did. We got home somehow and went to bed downstairs. Early in the morning we heard this large noise like a sonic boom. We had fairly huge hangovers and I came up the stairs to go to the bathroom. My dear aunt was sitting at the kitchen table and she took one look at my hair and gasped. I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. It looked like someone had got at me with a weed whacker. The boom was of course, the eruption. My friend and I left the next day but didn't go back for the second week of logging school. We'd had enough. the company finally hired the two of us and that is, as they say, another story!We did stop on the way home for me to have a more 'professional cut'. ha. thanks for reminding me.

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