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July 22, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens sent pumice and ash 6 to...
July 22, 1980

July 22, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens sent pumice and ash 6 to...

July 22, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens sent pumice and ash 6 to 11 mi (10-18 km) into the air, and was visible in Seattle, Washington (100 mi/160 km north).

Mudline left on tree by May 18, 1980 lahars from Mount St. Helens n...
July 2, 1980

Mudline left on tree by May 18, 1980 lahars from Mount St. Helens

Mudline left on tree by May 18, 1980 lahars from Mount St. Helens near the Old Highway 99 bridge across Toutle River, geologist 6 ft tall.

Ash from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens covering the...
June 2, 1980

Ash from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens covering the...

Ash from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens covering the ground and road at a farm in Connell, Washington, approximately 300 km (180 mi) from the volcano.

Plinian eruption column from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens. Aerial ...
May 18, 1980

Plinian eruption column from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens

Plinian eruption column from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens. Aerial view from the Southwest.

Plinian column from May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Aeri...
May 18, 1980

Plinian column from May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Aeri...

Plinian column from May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Aerial view from southwest. Mount Adams is in the background (right).

A partially buried bridge in black and white
May 18, 1980

The St. Helens bridge on Highway 504 was carried over a quarter-mile

The May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington, generated lahars that swept down river valleys. The St. Helens bridge on Highway 504 was carried over a quarter-mile (a half-kilometer) downstream and partially buried.  The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory continues to monitor Mount St. Helens and other very high threat volcanoes. Photo by R.L. Schuster from USGS

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Volcano erupting and spewing a huge cloud of rock and ash into the sky.
May 18, 1980

Mount Saint Helens eruption

On Sunday, May 18, 1980 at 8:32 a.m., the bulging north flank of Mount St. Helens slid away in a massive landslide -- the largest in recorded history. Seconds later, the uncorked volcano exploded and blasted rocks northward across forest ridges and valleys, destroying everything in its path within minutes.

Ash plume (close up) from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens. Plume move...
May 18, 1980

Ash plume (close up) from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens. Plume move...

For more than nine hours a vigorous plume of ash erupted, eventually reaching 20-25 km (12-15 mi) above sea level. By early May 19, the devastating eruption was over.

Eruption column from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, viewed...
May 18, 1980

Eruption column from May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption

On May 18, 1980, at 8:32 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake shook Mount St. Helens. The bulge and surrounding area slid away in a gigantic rockslide and debris avalanche, releasing pressure, and triggering a major pumice and ash eruption of the volcano. Thirteen-hundred feet (400 meters) of the peak collapsed or blew outwards. As a result, 24 square

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May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens....
May 18, 1980

May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens.

May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens from southwest. Note the pyroclastic density currents spilling over the crater rim.

video thumbnail: Mount St. Helens 1980 Ash Cloud as Seen From Space
May 17, 1980

Mount St. Helens 1980 Ash Cloud as Seen From Space

Eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens captured the world’s attention on May 18, 1980 when the largest historical landslide on Earth and a powerful explosion reshaped the volcano. A volcanic ash cloud spread across the US in 3 days, and encircled the Earth in 15 days.

This mini-movie compiled from individual satellite images taken in 1980 shows the ash cloud as it

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Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the devastating er...
May 17, 1980

Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the devastating er...

Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the devastating eruption. The view is from Johnston's Ridge, six miles (10 kilometers) northwest of the volcano.