Explosive Footage: Last Moments Before Mount St

Fifty-seven people were killed when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. It is the deadliest volcanic eruption in U.S. History.

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Mount St. Helens eruption as seen from Vantage, Washington. Photo taken by Carmen R. Andrews in 1980.
Mount St. Helens eruption as seen from Vantage, Washington. Photo taken by Carmen R. Andrews in 1980.
This is an aerial view of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens on May 18, 1980. (Photo: United States Geological Survey via Earth Science World Image Bank)

Ash, rock and hot gasses spewed into the air. Ash blanketed the Pacific Northwest and stretched to lớn 11 states & Canada.


The blast reduced the mountain"s height by 1,314 feet. The USGS saidit took just two weeks for the ash from the eruption to circle the globe.


Autopsies showed that most of the people killed in the eruption likely died from asphyxiation after inhaling hot ash, according khổng lồ the USGS.


In addition to human lives lost, an estimated 7,000 big trò chơi animals – such as deer, elk & bears – were also killed. Birds và small mammals also died.


Washington state worked lớn remove about 900,000 tons of ash from highways & roads, according to the USGS. The International Trade Commission determined the total cost of damage & rebuilding efforts from the eruption came to lớn an estimated $1.1 billion.


Seismic activity around Mount St. Helens quieted after the mid-80s. According khổng lồ the USGS, the area experienced the fewest earthquakes since the eruption ended in the early 2000s.

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On Sept. 23, 2004, earthquake frequency increased, và a new formation was reported on the southeast margin of the 1980-86 lavadome, according khổng lồ USGS.


Explosions began on Oct. 1, 2004, sending ash and gases into the air. In all, five explosions occurred through Oct. 5 of that year.


Two more "significant" explosions occurred in 2005, the last on March 8. Blocks of rock landed hundreds of yards away, along with dustings of ash that ended up in Ellensburg, Yakima & Toppenish more than 90 miles away.


The USGS’s Cascades Volcano Observatory was established in the wake of the 1980 Mount St. Helens explosion khổng lồ track volcanic activity from Mount Baker near the Canadian border to Crater Lake in Oregon.


Five of the volcanoes it tracks are in Washington state. In a 2018 update lớn the National Volcano Threat Assessment, Mount St. Helens held the position as the second biggest threat in the U.S., following Mount Kilauea in Hawaii.


Mount St. Helens remains the most active volcano in the Cascade Range. Of the volcanoes in the contiguous U.S., it is the most likely khổng lồ erupt in the future and even in "our lifetimes," according to lớn USGS. However, neither a large avalanche nor lateral blast like those in 1980 is likely due to the deep crater.


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