Day in History 18 May – Mt. Saint Helens

On this day in 1980, Mt. Saint Helens erupted killing 57 people including, USGS volcanologist David A. JohnstonReid Blackburn, a National Geographic photographer. and innskeeper Harry R. Truman.  Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, 96 miles south of Seattle, Washington and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon.  The catastrophic eruption produced an eruption column that reached 80,000 feet into the atmosphere and volcanic mudslides that reached the Columbia River, nearly 50 miles away; deposited ash in 11 U. S. states and parts of Canada; destroyed 4 billion board feet of timber, 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway.  The Final Footprint – The Johnston Ridge Observatory was built near the site of Johnston’s camp on that morning and is named in his honour.  A memorial located at the observatory lists the names of the 57 people believed to have been killed by the eruption.

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