History Bits – Snap Shots

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens was a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows from Mount St. Helens in Skamania CountyU.S. state of Washington, that began on March 27, 1980. It initiated as a series of phreatic blasts from the summit then escalated on May 18, 1980, as a major explosive eruption. The eruption, which had a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 5, was the most significant to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the much smaller 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.[2] It has often been declared the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history. The eruption was preceded by a two-month series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes, caused by an injection of magma at shallow depth below the volcano that created a large bulge and a fracture system on the mountain’s north slope.

It was Sunday, May 18, 1980 it was around 8:30 in the morning. I heard what sounded like a 12 gage shot gun go off with a overload in it. I immediately leaped out of bed and went from window to window of our house to check the outside. I saw nothing. The hours later Blaine and Birch Bay was dusted with Mt. Saint Helens ash. I saved some in a jar of it. Don’t ask me where the jar is.
Weeks later I had a conversation with a friend who was climbing Mount Adams when St. Helens blew. “We hardly heard a thing. When that mountain blew. Everybody climbing Adams did even say a thing. We all turned around and started climbing down the mountain. Everyone looked grim.”

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