Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mount St. Helens

"At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments." The sunsets were fabulous all the following summer, and fine ash fell in western Montana for months. I am looking forward to visiting the not-quite-so-extinct volcano next month; for now, you can watch in on the National Park Service's volcanocam.