Mount St. Helens: A 30-year legacy of volcanism

Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
By: , and 



The spectacular eruption of Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980 electrified scientists and the public. Photodocumentation of the colossal landslide, directed blast, and ensuing eruption column—which reached as high as 25 kilometers in altitude and lasted for nearly 9 hours—made news worldwide. Reconnaissance of the devastation spurred efforts to understand the power and awe of those moments (Figure 1). The eruption remains a seminal historical event—studying it and its aftermath revolutionized the way scientists approach the field of volcanology. Not only was the eruption spectacular, but also it occurred in daytime, at an accessible volcano, in a country with the resources to transform disaster into scientific opportunity, amid a transformation in digital technology. Lives lost and the impact of the eruption on people and infrastructure downstream and downwind made it imperative for scientists to investigate events and work with communities to lessen losses from future eruptions.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mount St. Helens: A 30-year legacy of volcanism
Series title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
DOI 10.1029/2010EO190001
Volume 91
Issue 19
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 3 p.
First page 169
Last page 171
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Mount St. Helens
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