Mount Saint Helens

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After hundreds of years of inactivity, on the morning of Sunday, May 18, 1980, at 8:32AM, Mount St. Helens came back to life in a spectacular and highly destructive eruption.

The northern slope of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown over or left dead and standing. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet into the sky and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments.

In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to any disturbance.

In September of 2004, the volcano returned to active status causing the closure of several observatories to the general public. However, a volcano cam allows for web-monitoring of the crater at all times, as long as cloud cover and visibility conditions cooperate.

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