Mount St Helens Research Paper

1548 Words 6 Pages
“Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” Those were the last words anyone heard from David Johnson. He had been closely monitoring a steaming, trembling snow-capped mountain near Vancouver, Washington. Mount St. Helens had not erupted in over 100 years. But two months earlier, an earthquake had jolted it to life. Homes were evacuated and roads were closed as hundreds of explosive blasts of steam burst from the volcano and earthquakes shook the area. Scientists knew that pressure was building up inside the mountain. They could see that the north side had grown outward almost 450 feet (140 meters). This was evidence that molten rock, called magma, had risen high into the volcano. They felt that a massive eruption could happen soon. But when?

On May 17, 1980, after two months of thousands of daily earthquakes and more
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Now the mountain was free to explode, and that’s what it did.

For the next nine hours, ash and magma spewed thousands of feet up in a 3-mile wide plume. People 30 miles away reported that burned pinecones and pebbles rained down around them. The day had started with the largest landslide in recorded history and ended with a devastating volcanic eruption that spread ash and debris over thousands of miles of landscape. It took many years for the area to recover.

Even though the eruption of Mount St. Helens was a disastrous event, it did some good. It taught scientists an important link between earthquakes and volcanic activity. Some refer to the eruption of Mount St. Helens as the “dawn of earthquake science in the United States.”

Since that terrible day, scientists have learned a lot about how volcanoes grow and change, as well as how they are linked to earthquakes. Scientists like David Johnson, who lost his life monitoring Mount St. Helens, are a brave bunch. They are called volcanologists. Volcanologists may have the most dangerous job in the field of

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