Mount St Helens Essay

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Mount St. Helens is a massive active volcano right in the heart of Washington. During 1980 from March-May the volcano showed signs of an impending eruption. On March 27, a preliminary thick cloud of steam shot out of the volcano, throughout the following months a visually apparent bulge begin to form on the side of the mountain. On May 18, the volcano erupted with a lateral blast that was the largest in recorded history, and produced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake initiated a flank collapse that caused a landslide producing enough debris to fill 1 million Olympic sized swimming pools. The huge lateral blast formed deadly pyroclastic flows that traveled at 300 mph incinerating everything in their path and lasting 9 hours. The blast also sent ash clouds soaring15…show more content…
In Yakima alone, it took 10 weeks to remove all the ash that had fallen. The volcano continued to erupt for 6 years after the initial blast. Violently at first, then slowly leaking lava that has now formed a lava dome that is 920 feet high (USGS). The eruption and secondary natural disasters served as hazards as they harmed and affected the people living nearby. This affliction to human health and well being has enabled policy change to better protect people living near this massive natural hazard. The eruption of Mount St. Helens was a hazard because is directly affected human health. The blast triggered many secondary hazards including lahars, landslides and mudslides causing a substantial amount of devastation. The explosion and following secondary hazards killed 57 people and left 200 without homes. Diagram two shows the destruction of a home caused by lahars from Mt. Saint Helens. The ash fall destroyed crops down wind and closed a major roadway I-90 for 10 days. The overall cost of the damage (1980 dollars) was $1.1 billion. The destruction, loss of life, and economic costs make the volcano a massive natural hazard to humans. Volcanic

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