Mount St. Helens erupting


Volcanic ash plume at Mount St. Helens. View of the giant ash cloud formed by the eruption of Mount St. Helens on 22 July 1980. This explosive event threw ash up to an altitude of 18km in the space of eight minutes. Spectacular though this was it was a pale reflection of the major eruption of 18 May 1980 when about 3 cubic kilometers of the volcano were blown away. A lateral blast of dense, debris-filled steam clouds burst away from the volcano at speeds of up to 400 km/h, devastating more than 500 square kilometers of land. 57 people died in the first eruption, and over $1 billion of damage was done, mainly to the local lumber industry.

Credit: David Weintraub / Science Source

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