Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mt St Helen's 33 years today

Mt St. Helens erupted on Sunday, May 18th, 1980.  My parents were at the beach on the Pacific Ocean and my dad said that he had heard the blast that morning. I remember going up to Capital Hill to go look at the ash plume.  53 of the 57 people who died that day were outside the restricted area that the USFS had established.  The restricted areas were based upon prior eruption history.  The blast was so much larger than anyone thought it was going to be because it was a lateral blast, the largest recorded landslide to date on the planet.
That morning, Gary Rosenquist took an entire sequence of the blast that morning - 22 frames in all. He and his family survived.  What an adventuresome soul to be so close to such a giant waiting to blow up.
This is what it looked like the day we visited in 2012.
When the eruption occurred, the gophers in the area were still hibernating, there was still snow on the ground protecting the plants and they reseeded the area according to the scientists.  The area was designated a National Monument by President Reagan for study, research, education and for nature's own sake. 
The car that was able to help scientists determine the heat of the blast.  Apparently the car had heat-treated tires with the ability to withstand 400 degrees.  The people who died were visiting a mining cabin and had signed a liability waiver to enter "the blue zone".
Mt Rainier is a dormant volcano too!  
Tacoma and Seattle are at serious risk if Mt. Rainier becomes active anytime soon.  When I visit outside of the Seattle area around Enumclaw, in the area of the White River, there are volcano evacuation routes posted.  Good luck with that!  Kinda like living on an island when there is a tsunami.  Where we live now,  I think the biggest natural disaster that we face is forest fire.  There is a lot of fire load in the forests around here.  Luckily it's been a rainy day here, so we got moisture after the week of 30C temps.  Still waiting for the frost this May.

I watched a 
great video about Mt St Helens in commemoration of the event.  I like the quote at 38:10.  

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