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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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.

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 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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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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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