Many of you may remember the volcanic eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980. And many of you may not have been born yet. Mount Saint Helens is one of the greatest volcanic explosions ever recorded in North America. It is also the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in United States history. Keep reading for facts and pictures of the volcano destruction.
- 57 people lost their lives.
- Thousands of animals were killed.
- 250 homes are destroyed.
- 15 miles of railways are destroyed.
- 47 bridges destroyed.
- Property damage and destruction totaled in the billions of dollars.
- The mountain’s summit reduced to 8363 feet from 9677 feet.
- The crater formed is a mile wide.
- Debris avalanche up to .7 cubic miles in volume.
- 200 square miles of trees are blown down by the lateral air blast.
- The release of superheated gas and rock debris blown out of the mountain face moved at nearly supersonic speed destroying everything within eight miles instantly.
- The shockwave stuck the forest for another 19 miles bringing down century old trees with all the tree trunks neatly aligned to the north.
- After the lateral blast, a vertical explosion occurred sending a cloud of ash and gases more than 12 miles (19 km) into the air.
- Over the next few days, an estimated 540 million tons of ash dispersed up to 2,200 square miles (5,700 square km) and over seven states.
- The heat melted and eroded glacial ice. The melting water mixed with dirt and debris creating volcanic mudflows called lahars. The lahars reached speeds of 90 mph (145 km/h) and destroyed everything in their path.
Nature has a remarkable way of restoring itself. But it takes time. In 2010, Thirty years after the eruption, you could still see signs of the devastation. Now almost forty years after the eruption, the region is still restoring itself but starting to regain greenery.
Will Mount St. Helens erupt again?
The location of the volcano means another eruption is inevitable. Predicting when is extremely difficult. However, the last few years the seismic activity around Mount St. Helens has been within normal range. Today, Mount St. Helens is a reminder of the power of nature.
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Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.
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