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Old 05-18-2020, 02:52 PM
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Mt. St. Helens 40 years ago today


Forty years. I have fond memories of that area I mean, before it blew up. Anyone else?
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:06 PM
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I still remember that poor old man, Harry R Truman, who refused to leave. His death must have been horrific. Or maybe not as the article speculates.

https://www.sciencehistory.org/disti...us-the-volcano
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:21 PM
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I didn't visit the mountain before it blew, but I stayed on a farm about 15 miles away in 1975, so I knew the general area. I worked as a guide on a tour of Washington in 1987 and was able to take a helicopter tour of the crater then.

At the time of the eruption I was living in Boulder, Colorado. The ash fall reached that far, and I remember seeing tiny flecks of ash on parked cars afterward.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:25 PM
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I still have a couple of jars of ash in the basement.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:47 PM
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The retired pilot who is now chief mechanic for the aviation museum where I work was contracted to take a couple of photographers up to view the eruption the morning it occurred. Some of the footage in this Youtube video may have been taken from his plane.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I still have a couple of jars of ash in the basement.
I have a couple jars, too. Collected from the Spokane area. Before the eruption on May 18, people were paying good money for Mt St Helens ash. Then suddenly, it was all over the state.

Today's xkcd is about the volcano, but a really weak effort. Except for that awful pun in the mouse-over text.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:57 PM
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Lovely wife was at a Grateful Dead concert in Portland. She remembers they played "Fire on the Mountain." On the way home it took her awhile figure out what was falling on the windshield.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:07 PM
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The earthquake woke me up when it blew up. I briefly thought my brother was shaking my bed to mess with me. Spent a bunch of that day cruising the hills west of Seattle to try and get a good view.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I still have a couple of jars of ash in the basement.
My brother, who was 13, bought one of those jars at a local grocery store. It was packaged and labeled as a souvenir, and was something like $2.

I was 16, and I remember those brilliant sunsets in the Midwest for weeks afterwards.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 05-18-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:35 PM
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We were so close, that day. Drove up to Cayuse pass, then decided to head back home. Must have been around Greenwater when it blew, but we were in a noisy old pickup, so, never hear a thing and only found out about on TV when we got home. If we had gone down 123 toward Morton, we would have been in the midst of the first ashfall. And probably would have needed a new engine.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:43 PM
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There must have been plenty of that ash about: Bozeman, MT got a three-inch layer. It's the only time in the history of Montana State University that the school has ever closed due to weather.

Apparently some folks cemented the ash and molded it into figurines. I have a small elephant statue that was made that way.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:02 PM
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I have seen jewelry (in Wall, SD, as I recall) with green gems formed from MSH ash (essentially, glass).
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:49 PM
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Lovely wife was at a Grateful Dead concert in Portland. She remembers they played "Fire on the Mountain." On the way home it took her awhile figure out what was falling on the windshield.
Actually that was a later eruption on June 12, not the primary eruption on May 18. The legend among Deadheads is that the eruption occurred during the performance of Fire on the Mountain, but the June 12 eruption was at 7:05pm, which is too early for a second set song.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:20 PM
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I was on a flight from Portland OR to Minneapolis the last week of April 1980. The pilot made an announcement about Mount St Helens, being visible out the left windows, and how we were not in any danger in spite of some minor activity the previous week.

I wonder what it would have been like to be in an airliner at that same location when it finally blew.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:25 PM
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I've always found the account of volcanologist David A. Johnston and his last words to be fascinating and a little haunting.

"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:34 PM
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Actually that was a later eruption on June 12, not the primary eruption on May 18. The legend among Deadheads is that the eruption occurred during the performance of Fire on the Mountain, but the June 12 eruption was at 7:05pm, which is too early for a second set song.
You are correct! but I figured there wouldn't be a "secondary eruption" thread. It's nice for her to have her recollection confirmed.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:44 PM
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I happened to fly from the Bay Area to Seattle shortly after that, for a four-day symposium on killer whales. The route went very nearly over the volcano, just off to one side a little bit. The pilot dipped the wing as we went past so the passengers could get a good look at the crater.

It was still smoking. And the ground for miles around was just solid gray. All the pine trees that were on the mountain were laying in piles on the ground, like piles of Pick-Up-Sticks.

(Note: Mt. St. Helens is not to be confused with Mt. St. Helena, a long-dormant volcano in California at the northern end of Napa Valley. It has a picnic table (or maybe several) at the top and a hiking trail leading up to there.)

Last edited by Senegoid; 05-18-2020 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:56 PM
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I was stationed at Whidbey Island, WA, which is about 200 miles north of St. Helens. The mountain blew on a Sunday. We were getting ready to go out for something, and I heard booms that I thought were the kids kicking the wall of the bedroom. I went in to yell at them, but they were sitting and reading. Weird. We went out, got in the car, turned on the radio, and it was all over the news.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:04 PM
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My folks used to take vacations on dad's motorcycle after we kids left home. About a year after the blast they went up what seemed to be an old logging trail, viewing the destruction, and collected a little ash. There were no signs telling them not to be there, and mom remembers they got quite a ways up in a bleak area. Next year they drove by there again and everything was blocked off.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
There must have been plenty of that ash about: Bozeman, MT got a three-inch layer. It's the only time in the history of Montana State University that the school has ever closed due to weather.

Apparently some folks cemented the ash and molded it into figurines. I have a small elephant statue that was made that way.
You were in Bozeman? I was in Havre. The college there closed down, too. I dont recall how much ash we got, but it looked like fog for days. The father of one of my students died: he had a heart condition and left his bedroom window open.
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