May is Volcano Awareness Month in Washington State. This Sunday, May 18, will mark 34 years since the deadly explosion of Mount St. Helens. The eruption produced a blast that, traveling at the speed of sound, mowed down thousands of acres of forest and showered hot ash and gases across the landscape. Fifty-seven people died, including two people who were watching the eruption some 25 miles away from the mountain.
Helping us to prepare for the next time one of the state’s five active volcanoes threatens to erupt is the Washington Emergency Management Division with some helpful reminders. DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources help map, monitor and educate the public, government agencies, and others about volcanoes and other geologic hazards in our state.
Visit the website of the U.S. Geological Survey to view an informative, illustrated paper about Mount St. Helens and what the mountain has been up to since 1980. Throughout the week, we will look at what’s known about Mount St. Helens and the four other active volcanoes in our state: Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. And we should not forget Mount Hood, just over the border in Oregon, which is considered the most potentially hazardous of the five active or potentially active volcanoes in Oregon.
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