40 years ago today, Mt. Saint Helens Exploded

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count_zero

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So, about 40 years ago today this happened:

I was born in '85, so I was not around for the eruption, but growing up in the Portland Metro area, hoo boy did I get to see the aftermath. Even though the mid-90s I remember that if you drove through the blast area you could still see hundreds of miles of utterly leveled timber, and the rest of the area was a desolate, blasted wasteland. Like, in 1992, if you were going to make a live-action version of Lord of the Rings, you wouldn't need to go to New Zealand to find someplace to double for the Plains of Gorgoroth.

However, much to the surprise of probably a lot of people, the area around Mt. St. Helens has had an amazing ecological recovery - there are even fish in Crystal Lake again. I'm not going to say that you can't tell the difference - half the mountain was blown away - but it is night and day from the wasteland that there was before.

So, for those on the boards who live in the PNW - what are your memories of the aftermath of the eruption, and if you're old enough to be around when it happened, do you have any stories to tell?

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TheRealTurk

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Like you, I wasn't around for the eruption, so I only have the "pop-culture" knowledge of the eruption. Specifically, (a) David A. Johnson, the volcanologist who said "Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!" before getting killed in the blast, and (b) Harry Truman, the guy who flat out refused to be evacuated.

I did visit the park around 2005. I remember the difference between the side of the mountain with the eruption and the other side of the mountain being pretty stark. I also remember the park service wouldn't let anyone take the hike to the crater because there was some shifty seismic activity going on.

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count_zero

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I did visit the park around 2005. I remember the difference between the side of the mountain with the eruption and the other side of the mountain being pretty stark. I also remember the park service wouldn't let anyone take the hike to the crater because there was some shifty seismic activity going on.

OPB's YouTube channel has been putting up a bunch of programming from Oregon Field Guide and a bunch of other shows about Mt. Saint Helens up, and I think it was getting ready for a mini-eruption around that time.

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MonkeyKing1969

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I remember that eruption causing hazier skies in the North East where I lived. The footage on the news was sort of scary, because as a kid I sort of has the prehistoric spewing lava idea of volcanos...not half of a mountain goes boom kind.

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NTM

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#5  Edited By NTM

I was born in 1990, so ten years after it happened. We live north of Seattle, and my dad tells me it was weird because it seemed to affect the whole world in terms of ash and stuff, and yet around here it seemed like nothing happened aside from some difference in the rain. It's hard to believe, but it's already been over a decade since we went there. I went there in 07 or 08. I enjoyed going and learning more about it. I enjoyed the view more than Rainier. Also, time flies because I was talking to my mom and dad about it today and my dad was like, 'what's it been, 20 years?' and I said, '30... wait, ha, no 40'. And it was just a 'damn!' moment. I wasn't alive, but even I can tell it doesn't feel like it was that long ago.

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Monkeyman04

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#6  Edited By Monkeyman04

I was born in '87, so I too didn't live through it, but my parents have told me stories about what it was like. One story is about when it happened they where at a campsite along the Sandy River, which is about 90 miles South of Mt St Helens. The camp they were at had tree camping spots (kinda like a tree-house but open air) and the trees there are HUGE. They felt the blast from where they were at. They say it felt like a giant had taken hold of the tree and was shaking it.