Two Scores Ago: Mount St. Helen’s Eruption

We can agree that the #COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the world forever. We’ll never return ‘to the way it was’. We’ll adapt to implement changes to our environment as we’ve always done to survive. It’s life as a hyper keystone species. It’s human nature.

Speaking of nature, 40 years ago, on this day in history, Mt. St. Helens erupted with a massive explosion that changed the landscape and the lives of Washingtonians forever.

I vaguely remember the actual day as a 4 year old, but here is my account …

Mount St Helens

Mount St. Helens (known as Lawetlat’la to the indigenous Cowlitz people, and Loowit or Louwala-Clough to the Klickitat) is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon and 96 miles (154 km) south of SeattleWashington. Mount St. Helens takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century.[1] The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.

~ Wikipedia

Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its major eruption on May 18, 1980, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history! Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche, triggered by an earthquake of magnitude 5.1, caused a lateral eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,363 ft (2,549 m), leaving a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km3) in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for the eruption’s aftermath to be scientifically studied.

I remember watching the live news being broadcast from miles away on our console TV with my Mom’s knitted green and white runner with the silver and black cable box that had one dial in center of it.

The reporters warned us of volcanic ash falling from the sky like snow. Of course, I went directly outside to confirm, and to witness this phenomenon. A thin layer of grey ash was on everything I could see. It was on our emerald green Datsun B210, the lawn the roof, anywhere I surveyed with my eyes.

Mount St. Helen’s May 18th, 1980 Eruption

Since I was out there, my Dad and collected some of the ash in glass vials and jars. I wondered for years why we collected, or why he kept it. As a precautionary measure, Washingtonians were encouraged to stay inside.

Sound familiar?

At any rate, that is my recollection of that particular historic event. What’s your memory of that day? Tell me about it!

Be good like you should and if you can’t be good … BE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO!


Published by losisthemost

"You only live once, but ... if you do it right, once is all you need" ~ I'm an active American-Filipino that has many skills I use to their best advantage.

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