Mount St. Helens, 1980 to now—what’s going on?

Fact Sheet 2013-3014, version 1.1
By: , and 



Mount St. Helens seized the world’s attention in 1980 when the largest historical landslide on Earth and a powerful explosive eruption reshaped the volcano, created its distinctive crater, and dramatically modified the surrounding landscape. An enormous lava dome grew episodically in the crater until 1986, when the volcano became relatively quiet. A new glacier grew in the crater, wrapping around and partly burying the lava dome. From 1987 to 2003, sporadic earthquake swarms and small steam explosions indicated that magma (molten rock) was being replenished deep underground. In 2004, steam-and-ash explosions heralded the start of another eruption. A quieter phase of continuous lava extrusion followed and lasted until 2008, building a new dome and doubling the volume of lava on the crater floor. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Washington’s Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network maintain constant watch for signs of renewed activity at Mount St. Helens and other Cascade volcanoes. Now is an ideal time for both actual and virtual visitors to Mount St. Helens to learn more about dramatic changes taking place on and beneath this active volcano.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Mount St. Helens, 1980 to now—what’s going on?
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2013-3014, version 1.1
DOI 10.3133/fs20133014
Edition Originally posted on April 23, 2013; Revised May 28, 2013
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Cascades Volcano Observatory, Volcano Science Center
Description Report: 6 p.; Videos folder: 6 video links; Transcripts folder
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Mount St. Helens
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details