Wildflowers bloom in the path of Mt St Helens volcanic chaos where the debris avalanche and mudflows buried the Toutle valley to a depth of almost 50 meters. The eruption lasted for 9 hours. 57 people lost their lives, or are still considered missing, 250 square miles of land was damaged, “Countless” animals were killed – estimates are 7,000 big game animals and millions of birds, fish, and small mammals.
The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, a stratovolcano located in Washington state, in the United States, was a major volcanic eruption. The eruption (which was a VEI 5 event) was the only significant one to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California. The eruption was preceded by a two-month series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes, caused by an injection of magma at shallow depth below the volcano that created a huge bulge and a fracture system on Mount St. Helens’ north slope. An eruption column rose 80,000 feet (24,400 m) into the atmosphere and deposited ash in 11 U.S. states. At the same time, snow, ice and several entire glaciers on the volcano melted, forming a series of large lahars (volcanic mudslides) that reached as far as the Columbia River, nearly fifty miles (eighty kilometers) to the southwest. Less severe outbursts continued into the next day only to be followed by other large but not as destructive eruptions later in 1980 (from wikipedia).
Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mt. St Helens, Washington, USA
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Canon Rebel T2i, 18mm, 3 image HDR processed in photomatix