Day 138 - Mt. Saint Helens

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
What I did
Mount St. Helens Visitor Center Castle Rock
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, September 14, 2013

Today we went to the Mount St. Helens Volcano.  We started out and it was quite over-cast with a chance of rain, but after viewing what the visitor center had to offer, we were told that up at 4,200' it was sunny at the observatory.  We took the hour and 15 minute ride up the the observatory and we were not disappointed at the view.  After attending a naturalist talk and exhibits before we took the drive, we knew a little about how it happened, but to actually see this crater from a distance of any 5 miles was awesome.  This event is more often referred to as a "massive landslide" than an eruption, although both occurred.

On that fateful day of May 18, 1980 when the mountain exploded from the north side triggering 3 landslides off the highest northern point - each one stronger and spewing rock, gas, and energy that would mow down anything and everything in its path - first 5 miles, then 7 miles and the third landslide surpassing all others and moving 14 miles down the valley. The debris covered 150 square miles!  People were evacuated to 5 miles!  57 people lost their lives that day!  When you think of the magnitude of this explosion, it's amazing that many more were not lost that day.

Scientists had been studying the Mountain for 2 months before the eruption and the lateral blast that surprised all who study these volcanoes.  There were several earthquakes which scientists knew to be common, and the east side of the mountain was expanding at 5' and hour.  But the scientists didn't understand that it would explode sideways.  They knew that the pressure was building, but they expected it to go up!!  Maybe you all remember seeing some ash eventually making it's way across the country in 3 days and across the globe in 15!

That day the mountain changed from 9,677' to 8,363' afterwards.
The crater that was formed was 2,084 feet
The explosion of ash rose 80,000 feet in less than 15 minutes.
The type of lava that we have here in the US is not the read molten lava we see in photos from Hawaii, but looks more like a giant "cow pie"!  This continues to grow and is now a couple of football fields wide and about 5,000 or more feet deep.  There is actually a new glacier that sits around this dome.

This was an amazingly awesome sight to see  
Slideshow Report as Spam

My Review Of The Place I've Seen

Loading Reviews
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


Caroline Jenkins on

Sandy, I just learned more about Mount St Helen than I ever knew before. It must be something else.

It's me again! on

And your pictures are gorgeous! on

One of the best National Park Centers anywhere. It is done so well. Carry on.......

jerrygolfboyer on

Good luck with that camera repair. But you are doing a great job with what you have. I always enjoy a good I changed mine again. Till I get something more current, this will do..

Pamela on

Welcome to my former life's backyard. It was an amazing event indeed. I will remember the day(s) of and following the event forever. That ash made a real mess of our lives for a decade or more!!

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: