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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about...18 years ago this week, Mount St. Helens erupted with the force of hundreds of atomic bombs, triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale.


CURWOOD: Eighteen years ago this week, Mt. St. Helens erupted with a force of hundreds of atomic bombs, triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale. Before that, the mountain had lain dormant for over a century. The May 18, 1980 blast spewed ash 15 miles high over hundreds of square miles of forest in western Washington and Oregon. It also set off landslides and mud flows and killed 64 people. High winds blew the ash cloud to the eastern US in only a few days, and around the world in two weeks. The still-active volcano is now a national monument. Visitors can hike through lava tubes, caves that were created when molten lava flows drained away after a crust had formed over them. Mt. St. Helens is now one of the world's most climbed mountains, second only to Mt. Fuji. With its top blown off, it now stands at 8,400 feet. That means climbers have 1,300 fewer feet to trek to get to the summit. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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