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30 Years From Today When Mt St. Helens Erupted

May 18, 2010

May18th, 1980, thirty years from today, earth shook, mountain fell , lives were lost and hot magma swallowed the greenland and turned into a wasteland. That was the day Mt St. Helens erupted and changed the lives of many people and also changed the face of the earth in that part of the region. It was one of the largest natural disaster in US history. The events started with a number of earthquakes in March. But on May 18th, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake completely sheared northern flank of mountain shearing off 1300 ft high summit leading to one of the largest recorded landslide on earth (see the video below). As the mountain collapsed, the hot magma which was building up inside, just erupted violently and spewed out rocks , ashes, hot gases and the sideways eruption added to the devastation.

When the mountain collapsed, it was like uncorking a bottle of champagne: hot rocks, ash, gas, and steam exploded upward and outward to the north. The outward blast spread volcanic debris (gray in the images) over 230 square miles (600 square kilometers) and blew down 4 billion board feet of timber. A raft of dead trees drifts around Spirit Lake throughout the series. All around the southern half of the mountain, volcanic mudflows (lahars) poured down rivers and gullies. [NASA]

The signs of life and greenery have started showing up in the region. But the volcano is still active and fuming.You can read more about St. Helens in detail in the following websites: National Geographic , USGS, NOVA PBS. For more pictures you can visit BigPicture from Boston.com. All the pictures are courtesy Bigpicture/USGS/AP. You can see in the picture below taken on May 20th, 1980 a car is totally covered under volcanic ash. Also you can see various colors of ponds being formed on the slopes of Mt Helens as a result of chemical cocktail coming out of the volcano. The third image of the colorful ponds was taken in August 1980.

You can watch the first shots of the volcanic eruption taken by Gary Rosenquist. You can see in the video how the north side of the mountain collapses causing the largest landslide and then followed by volcanic eruption ( lateral orientation of the eruption can also be seen). The second clip shows time-lapse video from NASA/USGS images from 1979 until today.

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