30 years….

…since Mount St. Helens’s massive eruption of May 18, 1980.

We actually lived in Hillsboro, OR at the time of the 1980 eruptions (there were quite a few, starting earlier than that, but May 18 was the Mother of ’em all). I remember volcanic ash covering our driveway and seeing the enormous ash clouds dominating the sky, even though the mountain was sixty miles away.

Here’s an infographic that explains the geology of the event (via):

The most amazing factoid to me about Mt. St. Helens is that Spirit Lake, on the mountain’s northern side, was elevated to such a degree by the 1980 eruptions that its current bottom is now higher than its pre-1980 surface level. That’s the power of Earth, folks!

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3 Responses to 30 years….

  1. Quince says:

    Rachel Maddow spoke last night about giant "dead spots" in the ocean off the coast of Oregon. It is assumed man is responsible, but I wonder if this may be the cause?

  2. Kelly Sedinger says:

    No. First of all, prevailing winds tended to distribute the vast majority, if not virtually all, of the volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helens to the east and occasionally to the south of the mountain. There was very little, if any, deposit of ash to the west, and any ash that made it into the ocean did so in river runoff.

    Oceanic dead zones are caused by sudden drops in oxygen gas dissolved in the water, which are sometimes caused by pollution. In the case of the dead zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, the dead zone is because of warming climate: warming waters cause massive plankton blooms. The plankton then consumes a disproportionate amount of the oxygen in the water, and when the plankton sinks, it depresses the oxygen in the water even more, resulting in water that has too little oxygen to support much life at all.

  3. Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness says:

    What a great analysis of this season. I admit that I loved Russell and wanted him to win but your arguement convinced me that he did indeed fail at the social part of the game and is just another Boston Rob who can squawk about how great he is but has no wins to back up his bluster.

    This was the first time I watched the reunion show in 20 cycles and you got it right – those girls looked hideous with all that studio makeup. Danielle especially. It was so thick and obvious. I never noticed how much a difference it made in their attractiveness. No make-up is the way to go.

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