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Mount Saint Helens Eruption, 40 years ago

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Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Mt St Helens erupting with a violence not experienced in the United States in modern times. One estimate was a force of 24 megatons, which is larger than any weapon the US ever tested in the atmosphere. Although I was not a witness, I do remember the incredible sunsets of the rest of the year as the ash cloud circled the globe.I recall sitting in McElroys restaurant in Biloxi, looking out over the Mississippi Sound, and the ever-changing layers of color as the sun went down.

 

Let us also remember all who lost their lives in the eruption. I think especially of David Johnson, the volcanologist yelling "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" into his ham radio, and Harry Truman, the irascible keeper of the Spirit Lake Lodge.

 

Yesterday I played Alan Hovhaness's Symphony No. 50, "Mount Saint Helens". This is my favorite work by Hovhaness. I don't listen to the final movement very often, but when I do it is a stirring experience on a powerful system (Klipsch, of course). Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle symphony have recorded this and I hope to hear it in person someday.

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Never realized it was 40 years ago.

 

 

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I look out my window at her every day (weather permitting).

 

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National Geographic’s latest edition has a very interesting feature article on St. Helens. Seems the old girl is in the wrong location. St. Helens sits west of Mt Adams and Mt Adams is in the correct location in line with the rest of the cascade volcanoes. They feel that there’s a huge batholith in between the Helens and Adams. The batholith is deep and placed so that it splits the plutons of lava blobs rising from the subduction friction zones. Some plutons head west underneath St. Helens and others rise up directly underneath Mt Adams. So the supply of lava going towards St Helens comes to it laterally and may contribute to the lateral destructive eruptions that tear up the mountain. I’d post a link but alas I do not have an on-line subscription 😔 sorry.

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I get the Nat Geo, I will look for this, thanks.

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