It has now been almost 40 years since the magnanimous explosion of Mount St. Helens. On May 18, 1980, a volcano breathed fire. But it was unusual, and almost an uncanny behavior from a volcanic mountain. For the first time in the history of volcanology, a volcano erupted from its side. Within minutes, the surroundings were turned into the debris of ash. The energy released in the explosion was something unfathomable even in terms of war. It was devastating to watch. Mainly because the volcano produced an energy wave equivalent to that of every bomb dropped in World War II, including the nuclear bombs.
This is the legacy of Mt. St. Helens. The volcanic explosion which directly killed at least 60 scientists, photographers, regional people, and hikers. This was not something any geologist will imagine even in their dreams. The explosions normally occur through the mouth of the volcano. But in this case, it took place through a big bulge on the side of the mountain.
Mt. St. Helens: A volcano that shook the planet 40 years ago
The volcanic eruption made the geologists realize how much learning is yet to be uncovered. The “pimple explosion” as many call it, occurred in the Lassen peak of the mountain. The pressure was so overwhelming, that the explosion put a hole in the side of the mountain. This explosion made volcanic hazards a continental issue for America.
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens unleashed the most devastating eruption in U.S. history. To learn how the eruption changed the future of volcanology, click here: https://t.co/3MRrA8Z2b0 pic.twitter.com/ud4hWvWkPF
— USGS (@USGS) May 15, 2020
For 4000 years, Mount St. Helens remained a prolific volcano. The explosions include ear eruptions, as well as rivers of lava. But something this terrific was long from happening because, by 1980, it completed 123 years in a dormant stage. The explosion put everyone by surprise as it was the first time a dormant volcano exploded.
However, in recent activities, scientists are still keeping a close eye o the seismic activities of the mountain. On its 40th anniversary, it does not pose much danger to us, but the government is prepared with damage control plans if nature takes a toll on us.
Let us know what you think of this in the comments section below!
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.