Stories tagged Mount St. Helens

Eyjafjallajökull isn't the only volcano to rock our modern world. Thirty years ago today Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State, making it one of the most spectacular and devastating volcanoes in the history of the United States. For those of us who were not alive or old enough to remember the event, here is a haunting description of the explosion from

"On May 18th, 1980, thirty years ago today, at 8:32 a.m., the ground shook beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington state as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck, setting off one of the largest landslides in recorded history - the entire north slope of the volcano slid away. As the land moved, it exposed the superheated core of the volcano setting off gigantic explosions and eruptions of steam, ash and rock debris. The blast was heard hundreds of miles away, the pressure wave flattened entire forests, the heat melted glaciers and set off destructive mudflows, and 57 people lost their lives. The erupting ash column shot up 80,000 feet into the atmosphere for over 10 hours, depositing ash across Eastern Washington and 10 other states."

And for everyone, here are some fabulous photos to commemorate the event.

Rock slab at Mount St. Helens: View biggerCourtesy Dan Dzurisin, Cascades Volcano Observatory, USGS
Rock slab at Mount St. Helens: View bigger
Courtesy Dan Dzurisin, Cascades Volcano Observatory, USGS

Check out this amazing photo of a growing rock slab at Mount St. Helens.

We will be doing more features on volcanoes this summer while we host artifacts from the ancient city of Pompeii here at the Science Museum of Minnesota.


Mount St Helens—the most active volcano in North America—erupted again on Tuesday, March 8, sending a cloud of ash and steam seven miles into the air. The venting began about an hour after a 2.0 magnitude earthquake shook the east side of the volcano, which has been mostly quiet since a few eruptions last September and October.

(A major eruption in 1980 killed 57 people, destroyed 200 homes, and reduced the height of the mountain's summit from 9,677 feet to 8,364 feet.)

Mount St Helen's is one of the most studied volcanoes in the world, and sensors show that lava moving into the crater left by the 1980 eruption has pushed the lava dome within the crater up by 500 feet. Scientists don't expect a major eruption, although they say that a bigger eruption could drop ash within a 10-mile radius of the crater at any time. Recent flights over the crater haven't measured high levels of gases. Instead, researchers think the volcano will continue to grow, as it did in 1986, with a series of small eruptions and a lava-dome building phase.

Video of an ash event on February 2 here

Live volcano cam at St.Helens

St. Helens Volcano Cam Image Archive.

NASA satellite images of Mount St Helens' October "hot spots".

USGS/NASA site about using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to study the volcano.