A Virtual Before and After of Mt. St. Helens

Ok, I’ll admit I’m might be overusing my poetic license on this one. But I was struck by contrast of the crater atop of Mt. St. Helens and the green valley in the foreground. It wasn’t after I finished reading the excellent book, Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens  by Steve Olson that I saw the connection between the valley and the eruption.

St Helens


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Behind the Photo

When I took the photograph there were three things that I wanted to frame in the shot; the valley in it’s deep green, the starkness of the crater on the volcano, and the dark clouds moving in over the summit. It was the colors and texture that I was highlighting.

Mt. St. Helens

Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its major 1980 eruption, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused an eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 ft to 8,363 ft, replacing it with a 1 mile wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically studied.


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