Helen Blows Her Top

12 Mar

May 18, 1980 Mnt. St. Helens

Helen actually blew more of her side than her top. I can remember watching a 35mm film in Geography class with a crew cut scientist showing pictures of the pressure bulge on the side of the mountain and the possibility of a volcanic explosion, the film was 20 years old.    The resulting explosion lasting 9 hours on may 18, 1980 sent ash and debris 22 km into the air, wiped out 300 km of road, 25 of rail lines, 250 homes, thousands of  acres of  forest  and killed 57 people.

The crater has been turned into a US National Monument.  I had the opportunity to visit t in 86, on my way from Mexico to Vancouver.  Even though much of the mountain was still closed to visitors the remnants of the Volcano were still spectacular.  25 years later I can still visualize the day I spent hiking and riding around the mountain.  It was a day filled with both beauty, enjoyment and somber.    The US dept of Forest was studying the mountain at the time and captured the explosion.   The mountain has seen volcanic activity again in 86 and 2004  and smaller but frequent seismic activity often registering  2 on the richter scale.  For those of you that are reflective on life and its possible meaning, Helen my shed a bit more perspective.   If you are ever in the Pacific North-West stop by and pay respect to the forces of nature and the 57 that lost their lives.  Mount St. Helens is truly a North American natural wonder not to be missed of the 1980’s or any decade.

Mnt St. Helens and the Resulting Crater

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