The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens provided the opportunity to study its effect on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lakes near the volcano, and to describe two newly created lakes. Concentrations of dissolved solids and organic carbon, measured in June 1980, had increased from 2 to 30 times those observed in the 1970 's in Spirit, St. Helens, and Venus Lakes. Water in the lakes was altered from preeruption calcium-bicarbonate types to calcium-sulfate, calcium sulfate-chloride, or lake surface, as in St. Helens Lake; transparency in Venus Lake had improved to a depth of 24 ft by 1982. Spirit Lake was anoxic into fall 1980, but had reaerated to 5.2 mg/L of dissolved oxygen by May 1981. Phytoplankton communities in existing lakes in the blast zone in 1980 were primarily green and bluegreen algae; diatoms were sparse until summer 1982. Small numbers of zooplankton in Spirit, St. Helens, and Venus Lakes, compared to numbers in Walupt and Fawn Lakes, may indicate some post-eruption mortality. Rotifers were absent from lakes in the blast zone, but by 1981 were observed in all the lakes. The recovery of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the lakes will depend on stabilization of the surrounding environment and biological processes within each lake. Excluding Spirit Lake, it is estimated that St. Helens Lake would be the slowest to recover and Venus Lake the fastest.
|Title||Effects of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens on the limnological characteristics of selected lakes in western Washington|
|Authors||S. S. Embrey, N. P. Dion|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Water-Resources Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|