(WYTV) – On the morning of May 18, 1980, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake caused a massive landslide on the north face of Mount St. Helens in Washington State.
That caused a volcanic eruption that destroyed every living and non-living thing within six miles of the volcano.
The super-hot cloud of ash, rock and volcanic gas traveled as much 18 miles from the blast.
Volcanic mudflows rolled down into valleys with enough force to rip trees from the ground, flatten homes and destroy roads and bridges.
Ash fell from the sky as far away as the Great Plains and it blanketed Spokane, Washington 250 miles away in complete darkness. 57 people died.
Today, it’s a 110,000 acre national volcanic monument for research and recreation.
The U.S. Geological Survey still rates warns us that Mount St. Helens’s could erupt again.
Mount St. Helens has exploded many times over its lifetime, beginning 275,000 years ago.
It is not named after a saint. A British explorer, George Vancouver, gave it that name when he charted the Pacific Northwest in the 1790s. He named it for a friend, Baron St Helens.
The native Americans nearby simply called it the Smoking Mountain.