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Volcano Anniversary Blows By
News Bytes 05/20/2020 31 Comments

Monday was the 40th anniversary of the United States’ worst-ever volcanic event disaster. In 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington state erupted. Another eruption of sorts, the coronavirus outbreak, stopped big plans to mark the date.

Mount St. Helens is an active volcano located 50 miles from Portland, Oregon. The mountain is known for its frequent ash explosions and pyroclastic (rock fragments from a volcano) flows.

However, it’s best known for a major eruption on May 18, 1980. That blast was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history.

The Mount St. Helens eruption blew more than 1,300 feet off the top of the mountain. Volcanic ash rained down for hundreds of miles. Sadly, 57 people died. These included campers, hikers, photographers, scientists, and an 83-year-old lodge owner who refused to heed warnings to leave the mountain.

The eruption produced huge, black and gray clouds of ash. They rose more than 80,000 feet into the air and eventually rained tiny granules of debris in cities and towns throughout the Northwest.

The peak had experienced many smaller eruptions in the weeks preceding the big event. Within minutes of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit at 8:32 a.m., the volcano’s north flank collapsed. The shaking triggered a vast landslide. The explosion scorched and flattened about 230 square miles of dense forest.

The eruption was physically and economically devastating. But it will also go down as the event that caused researchers to study American volcanoes in earnest.

Despite the historic nature of the date, there were no public ceremonies at the volcano on Monday. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the main highway into the national volcanic monument is closed due to virus protocols. Multiple visitor centers and museums that had planned remembrances are also shuttered. Several agencies did present talks and experiences online.

“We’ve been thrown for quite a loop here,” says Washington State Parks interpretive specialist Alysa Adams. “Please stay tuned for next year because I think we’re going to take all of this energy and passion and turn it into something productive for the 41st anniversary.”

Experts say Mount St. Helens may not be done yet. In the early 2000s, a lava dome began to rise in the volcano’s crater. It built slowly over three years during an eruption period from 2004-2008. Since then, Mount St. Helens has been relatively calm. But experts warn that it’s only a matter of time until the mountain could blow its top.

(Mount St. Helens sends a plume of ash, smoke, and debris skyward as it erupts on May 18, 1980. AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)

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Most recent comments

Wow! I would NOT like to live

Wow! I would NOT like to live close to Mount St. Helens! That would be so scary to have it start erupting and be told to leave the park. Yikes!

1st comment!!!

1st comment!!

P.S. This is Sarah

2nd Comment

I remember reading about this is my science last year! There was even a video of the eruption that I watched. It was at the same time cool, sad, terrible, amazing........ well, you get the picture.

This is Sarah

Oops first comment when I typed it: )

Missed it again!!! That

Missed it again!!! That always happens!! lol!

@Riley and Sarah

When that happens on my homeschool forum, we call it being ninja'd. So like I ninja'd Sarah, when she thought she was posting first comment, but I had already posted. It happens, you guys!

@ Everyone above

I got up early for something (I'm making a sundial for my science) hoping to get first comment, but all you guys are an hour ahead of me! Eastern time, I guess

I agree Bella C., I would not

I agree Bella C., I would not want to live near Mount St. Helens either!

@Kara N

I live in the Central Time Zone, but I get up anytime between 6:00 and 7:00

@Riley D

I usually get up at 8:15, but this time I had to get up early. I don't usually have stuff to do in the morning (I'm homeschooled)

Also I live in Central too

Also I live in Central too

@Kara N

I am homeschooled as well but I get up between 6 and 7. I am often able to finish school before lunch.

@ Asher E and any other homeschoolers

What do you guys do for homeschool?

@ Riley and Asher

You get up at 6 or 7?! That is early! I have to be downstairs by 7:45 every morning and I find that hard! How do you do 6?! I guess it depends what time you fall asleep in the night. But no matter how early I go to bed I can never fall asleep until, well, sometimes midnight but usually 11:30!

@Kara N

I usually do math, history, science, writing, grammer, music, and reading.

@Mirela J

I usually go to bed at 10:00 and fall asleep very soon after. Part of the reason you have trouble falling asleep might be because you sleep so late. If you woke up earlier you might be able to fall asleep earlier which might make it easier for you to wake up early on a regular basis. You should try it and let us know how it works out.

@ Mirela J

I usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11. I really don't have much reason to wake up early. If I did all my school early, I'd be super bored the rest of the day!

@Everyone above

I am homeschooled, too. My average wake-up time is 7 o'clock. I go to bed at 9 and read until 10 or a little after. Reading really helps to calm my mind before bed, but I still have trouble sleeping because of the heat, sometimes.

@Courtney K

I sleep with a fan on so I don't have a problem with the heat.

@Asher E

So do I. However, I live in the Dominican Republic, and because of the high electric bills, we don't have air conditioning. In the winter the temperature is usually at a comfortable 70 degrees F, but in the summer it can be at 90 degrees F AT NIGHT!!! Right now it is in the 80s F

Janna (Daniel's sister)

I was listening to K-Love the other day, and this guy came on and said that he was one of the pilots who flew their plane near the erupting volcano to get pictures like the one in this article. And they asked him if he feared for his life then, and he said, "No, I was to young and dumb". lol

@Kara N, Mirela J, and Asher E

I do the about same thing as Asher! However, lately I haven't been able to get stuff done as early because it is springtime, so we are working outside in the morning a lot when it is cooler. Plus, I have other house chores such as vacuuming, dusting, etc. For school I do History, Math (geometry, business math, and algebra), Science, Grammar, Writing, Spelling, Typing, Music, Poetry, Copywork, Latin, German, and some years we do Shakespeare, but not this year. I go to bed about 9 and read only sometimes to about 9:30. This helps me get up earlier. I think you should try what Asher suggested, and keep a schedule. If I can't go to sleep, I just start thinking about something, or even making up part of a story I could put in my books while lying there, and i usually fall asleep. But my main suggestion would be to go to bed earlier, so you can get up earlier.

@Courtney K

That sounds tough.

@Kara N Riley D and Mirela J

You can also listen to an audiobook while you are trying to go to sleep it will give you something to think about.

@ Asher E

That just makes it take longer for me to go to sleep! But I do love audiobooks

I really like audio books too

I really like audio books too!!!!!! We listen to them as a family during road trips.


I usually wake up between 7-8 and go to bed at 9ish, but I read until 10-10:30 and fall asleep afterwards. I start school at 10 usually and finish at 4. My subjects are math, science, grammar, writing, music, history, Bible, art, and of course reading (co-op classes are world languages, homesteading, and dance).

LOL im homeschooled 2 i think

LOL im homeschooled 2 i think we all r

i live in the eastern time zone

to above

I'm in the Central Time Zone.

7th comment in the world!!!!!!!


Aww, thats sad

Aww, thats sad

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