Unified Interior Regions

Washington

Washington's Puget Sound is a complex ecosystem directly adjacent to a robust metropolitan area that scientists from the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center study. Recent surveys have looked at juvenile surf smelt, a key link in the food web that are consumed by predators such as salmon, orca, and many marine birds. 

Western Fisheries Research Center

Western Fisheries Research Center

Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

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Washington Water Science Center

Washington Water Science Center

The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the State of Washington.

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States L2 Landing Page Tabs

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Lahars resulting from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens...
October 23, 1980

Lahars resulting from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens...

Nearly 135 miles (220 kilometers) of river channels surrounding the volcano were affected by the lahars of May 18, 1980. A mudline left behind on trees shows depths reached by the mud.

Bear tracks found on Mount St. Helens in an ash and pumice deposite...
October 15, 1980

Bear tracks found on Mount St. Helens in an ash and pumice deposite...

Many smaller animals, such as gophers, mice, frogs, fish, and insects were hibernating below ground or under water on May 18, 1980, and they survived the blast. Larger animals such as bear (whose tracks are shown here), elk, deer, and coyotes have been moving back into the area as their food supplies increase.

Spirit Lake and the devastated forest area surrounding Mount St. He...
October 4, 1980

Spirit Lake and the devastated forest area surrounding Mount St. He...

This lake was once surrounded by lush forest and is within the area devastated by the directed blast, covered by ash and tephra, then inundated by pyroclastic flows. Remnants of the forest float on the surface of the lake. Mount Rainier (4,392 m or 14,410 ft) is in the distance. The view is from the south.

The slopes of Smith Creek valley, east of Mount St. Helens, show tr...
September 24, 1980

The slopes of Smith Creek valley, east of Mount St. Helens, show tr...

The direction of the blast, shown here from left to right, is apparent in the alignment of the downed trees. Over four billion board feet of usable timber, enough to build 150,000 homes, was damaged or destroyed.

Debris avalanche deposit view from the northwest of Mount St. Helen...
September 16, 1980

Debris avalanche deposit view from NW of Mount St. Helens after the...

After the May 18, 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens' elevation was only 8,364 feet (2,550 meters) and the volcano had a one-mile-wide (1.5 kilometers) and approximately 600 m (2000 ft) deep horseshoe-shaped crater. View here is from the northwest.

Mount St. Helens soon after the May 18, 1980 eruption
September 10, 1980

Mount St. Helens soon after the May 18, 1980 eruption

Mount St. Helens soon after the May 18, 1980 eruption, as viewed from Johnston's Ridge.

Mount St. Helens soon after the May 18, 1980 eruption, as viewed fr...
September 10, 1980

Mount St. Helens soon after May 18, 1980 eruption

Mount St. Helens soon after the May 18, 1980 eruption, as viewed from Johnston's Ridge.

Pyroclastic flow during August 7, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. T...
August 7, 1980

Pyroclastic flow during Aug. 7, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The...

Pyroclastic flow during August 7, 1980, Mount St. Helens eruption. The view is from Johnston Ridge, located 8 km (5 mi) north of Mount St. Helens.

Pyroclastic flow from the August 7, 1980 eruption stretches from Mo...
August 7, 1980

Pyroclastic flow from the Aug. 7, 1980 eruption stretches from Moun...

During the May 18, 1980 eruption, at least 17 separate pyroclastic flows descended the flanks of Mount St. Helens. Pyroclastic flows typically move at speeds of over 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers/hour) and reach temperatures of over 800 Degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius).

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.

Western Fisheries Research Center

Western Fisheries Research Center

Research at the WFRC focuses on the environmental factors responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of fish populations including their interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems. 

Go to Center

Washington Water Science Center

Washington Water Science Center

The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the State of Washington.

Go to Center