Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

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Happy Mt St Helens Day

24 years ago today Mt St Helens went boom. I know there are many furs that weren't even born yet. I remember seeing the images coming out of places east of the eruption like Yakima that were buried under ash. Noon looked like midnight. To the west of the volcano there were floods of mud and debris pouring down the Toutle River. And as destructive as it was, it was a relatively small eruption in geologic terms.

I first saw the crater in 1987. I camped on the eastern flank and hiked around to the gaping hole on the northern side. In 1991 I hiked to the summit on the south side and gazed down into the abyss at the steaming dome of lava below. The next year I made an illegal hike to the base of the breach on the north side and stood eye to eye with the lava dome. I had soooooo wanted to go and touch it, but I was stopped by a 50' gully. I remember my heart pounding as I stood there with unstable rock falling all around me, realizing that without much warning that whole lava dome could explode. Even a small steam eruption could have sent a baseball-sized rock screaming toward my head. I just had to be there, feeling the intense energy radiating from the volcano.

Will we see another eruption like that in the continental US in my lifetime? Shasta? Rainier? Mammoth Lakes? As a geologist, I can hope.
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