Today is the 36th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Last year, I posted a documentary about the eruption and the recovery of the land around the volcano 30 years later. Today, I'm examining what the volcano is doing now.
I begin with CNN reporting Swarm of earthquakes strike Mount St. Helens.
In the past eight weeks, more than 130 small earthquakes have trembled beneath the surface of Mount St. Helens.On the one hand, don't worry because the repressurized magma might not erupt for years. On the other hand, worry because the volcano has been erupting for years already; it's just doing it relatively harmlessly. National Geographic explains in TIL: Mount St. Helens Has a Baby Volcano Inside It.
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington State erupted in the most explosive volcanic event in U.S. history. Fifty-seven people and countless animals died, a forest was leveled, and ash blanketed the region as far away as Minnesota.As I wrote last year, "An eruption like this won't cause the collapse of civilization, but it can certainly ruin a city. Just ask the Romans." Fortunately, Portland is far enough away to avoid the fate of Pompeii--I hope.
The volcano remains active today, even as events are being held at the mountain to mark the 36th anniversary of the disaster. Proving that it still has power, over the past few years, Mount St. Helens has had "a baby volcano growing in its crater," says Stephanie Grocke, a volcanologist at the Smithsonian Institution and a National Geographic explorer.
Between 2004 and 2008, enough molten rock oozed out of the crater to pave a seven-lane highway from New York City to Portland, Oregon, notes Grocke. As such, the mountain remains a dangerous threat.
"The volcano is still living and breathing," says Grocke.