(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s remembered 37 years later…
Located 96 miles south of Seattle, 50 miles northeast of Portland, she sits without her crown but still dominates the landscape.
Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 and killed 57 people while also causing $1.1 billion in property damage. It was the worst volcanic eruption in US history and the first since 1915 when Lassen Peak erupted in California.
It almost killed one person from Chewelah and another was on Mt. Adams and saw the event unfold in front of him.
For two months, a series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes announced that something was happening to the mountain – which before had been a picture-esque peak in Southwestern Washington.
An injection of magma began causing a large bulge on the mountain’s north slope. At 8:32 a.m. the entire north face slide away in the largest landslide ever recorded and allowed all the molten rock and high-pressure gas to erupt northwards. A column of ash rose 80,000 feet and eleven states – along with five Canadian providences – would receive material from the eruption.
Chewelah, a seven-and-a-half hour drive away from the mountain was certainly safe from the immediate disaster – but then it started to rain ash. More