January 17, 2011
The Mt. St. Helen’s Eruption of 1980.
Mt. St. Helen is a stratus volcano located in Washington, along the Cascade Range. On May 18th, 1980 the mountain erupted. Becoming one the largest volcanic eruptions in U.S history. The devastation caused by the mountain was wide spread. Many plants, animals, and insects were killed, along with 57 people who were miners, scientist, and 1 journalist. Mt. St. Helen had last erupted 120 years ago.
On the morning of the 18th, the volcano was quiet. But things quickly changed after a 5.1 earthquake rocked the mountain. Within 10 seconds of the earthquake the volcano erupted, the whole northern flank of the mountain disappeared in a massive landslide (one of the largest in U.S. history to date). The pyroclastic flow that immediately followed the landslide went as far away as 14 miles. Everything in the way of the pyroclastic flow was immediately killed or destroyed. Four miles away at Spirit Lake, the pyroclastic flow had left the lake uninhabitable, all the fish were dead, the water was black from ash and silt, and bacteria (from the volcano) had started to grow in the lake was eating up all the oxygen. The pyroclastic flow had also pushed the lake up by an additional 20 feet higher than it originally was, forever altering the lake. It was three weeks after the eruption before scientists could return to the mountain to find out the cause of the massive eruption that they were unprepared for. Upon their return to the mountain they discovered that the top of the mountain was gone in its place was a carter that was one mile wide and a thousand feet deep. And the whole northern side of the mountain was covered in ash and huge rocks that reminded them of the moon. The scientists were unclear why the eruption was so large, but upon farther investigation they found that the volcano was still erupting, much smaller in size than on the 18th, in a pattern that could be predicted.
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