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Mt St Me

Thanks to [personal profile] dine for the link, an absolutely fantastic, sobering, amazing set of photos from the Mt St Helens eruption that happened thirty years ago yesterday.

As someone born and raised in the shadow of "Mt St Me!!!" as my sister Helen used to call it, I can say that I've never had an experience more impossible to describe than that of seeing a mountain cut in half from one day to the next.

The photos at Boston.com in the link above do a great job of conveying the power of the eruption itself (the fallen trees like combed hair may be the most visceral), and the comments contain a host of "I remember when" stories that help define the impact it had on a lot of lives.

But to convey how it felt to look at the horizon in 1980 and see a different mountain than what I'd seen there all my life, nothing works as well as a before-and-after image:

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
karen_jk
May. 19th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Somehow I missed just how huge this eruption was...the photos tell so much! Thank you.
emeraldsedai
May. 19th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
It was a Very Big Thing. One of those events of a lifetime. At least, I hope it remains unique in my experience. There's a dormant volcano much closer to Portland than Mt St Helens: Mt Hood. I remember having nightmares of its eruption in the months following May 1980.
raindancer_jess
May. 20th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
That's funny, I always considered it kind of "my" volcano too. I was born just the day before, May 17th 1980. Mom joked that it took that long for the news to reach the west cost. (born in NY) :)
emeraldsedai
May. 20th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
LOL! That's wonderful. You burst into the world, did you?
starfishchick
May. 20th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
I have no memory of this - I was only 4.5 when it happened, but I have an odd fascination with it, so thanks for this.

(We flew by both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood as we came back from San Francisco - crazy big mountains!)
emeraldsedai
May. 20th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
The fly-by is beautiful, isn't it? Especially in the winter when they're fully covered with snow.
vchrusch
May. 20th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
My most vivid memory besides the news reports were the sunsets afterwards.

emeraldsedai
May. 20th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
They must have been fantastic from your perspective east of the volcano. Here, west of it, and upwind, the effect wasn't notable. I do remember the dust, though. Even here, we got several coatings of that in the various subsequent minor eruptions.
vchrusch
May. 20th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
Beyond fantastic. Whenever there's forest fires in BC or the Foothills they can be amazing, but when Mt St Helens blew it was ramped up by a factor of 10.

Being in the shadow of that would scare the crap out of me though. Isn't one of the other semi-dormant volcanoes in the Cascade range due for an eruption?
emeraldsedai
May. 20th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, probably. I believe Mt Hood, which is only 60 miles from downtown Portland, is due for a wake-up.

Hell, if it's not volcanoes, it's earthquakes. And if you don't want to live on the Ring of Fire, there are tornadoes, hurricanes, avalanches, landslides, tsunami, wildfires, floods...

Besides, don't they say that when it decides to rear up, the mega-volcano in Yellowstone will be the mother of 'em all?

I can think of worse ways to go, actually.
vchrusch
May. 20th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I've been to Yellowstone twice and know what you talk about. Yeah, most people are woefully ignorant of the "Rim of Fire" and other geological information especially the time-frame. Due for an eruption can mean sometime in the next 100 - 1000 years not Thursday at noon. :)
emeraldsedai
May. 20th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Egg-ZACT-ly. Live for the day, say I.
vchrusch
May. 20th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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