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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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.

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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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.

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).

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

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.

Bulge on the north slope of Mount St. Helens before the May 18, 198...
May 3, 1980

Bulge on the north slope of Mount St. Helens before the May 18, 198...

Bulge on the north slope of Mount St. Helens before the May 18, 1980 eruption. Sugar Bowl on left (east) side of bulge and Goat Rocks on right (west) side, viewed from the air.

Bulge on the north side of Mount St. Helens developed as magma push...
April 27, 1980

Bulge on the north side of Mount St. Helens developed as magma push...

A "bulge" developed on the north side of Mount St. Helens as magma pushed up within the peak. Angle and slope-distance measurements to the bulge indicated it was growing at a rate of up to five feet (1.5 meters) per day. By May 17, part of the volcano's north side had been pushed upwards and outwards over 450 feet (135 meters).

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