This week we have winners in first and second place! Jonet Greene found me first on day two, and Leslie Gompf was hot on her heels and found me the next day. Strangely enough, after choosing this week’s volcanic destination, the internet figuratively erupted with images of Mount St. Helens. It appears time had gotten away from me and let the fast-approaching 35th anniversary of the deadliest volcanic eruption in United States history slip my mind.
On 18 May, 1980, after two months of increasing activity including a large bulge growing upon the long-dormant volcano’s north slope, a large earthquake triggered a landslide, collapsing the entire north side of the mountain and uncorking a large amount of gas-rich magma which had been rising and building within. The resulting pyroclastic flow cut a path of utter destruction northward and the effects of that lateral blast can still be seen today. The inset photo from 2004 shows Spirit Lake with St. Helens six miles to the south in the background. A large amount of the lake’s basin is still littered with logs where the force of the pyroclastic flow cut down the forest in its path and swept it away as though it were matchsticks. The original image may be seen here.
If you want to read a more scholarly (yet still accessible to those of us who are not geologists or volcanologists) paper on the volcano and its most infamous eruption, here is a downloadable PDF of a professional paper from USGS detailing the first 100 days of the 1980 eruption.
And of course you may find Mount St. Helens on Global Volcanism Program, but you may find it a bit of a challenge just as I did. While GVP has been a most excellent resource for this blog, the volcano database search has at least this one strange quirk.
If not for the drafty northern exposure, St. Helens with its apparent newfound stealth would be a top contender for my future secret hidden volcanic lair…..not that I’ve put much thought into such things….nope.. not me… nosiree-bob!
Of course the scoreboard will be updated in just a second…and I have a new volcano already chosen for next week’s adventure..and I hope to make it a tad more challenging.