Essay about The 1980 Eruption of Mount Saint Helens and Its Impact

Essay about The 1980 Eruption of Mount Saint Helens and Its Impact

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Mount Saint Helens, located in the Pacific Northwest in southwestern Washington, stood approximately 9,500 feet above sea level prior to its eruption in 1980 (Tarbuck, 2012). Part of the Cascade Mountain Range, it is a composite volcano constructed of alternating layers of lava flows, ash, and other volcanic debris with steep, symmetrical sides . It also belongs to the North American segment of the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” This is where the tectonic plate from the Pacific is forced under the North America plate. According to an article in the Associated Press, “this Cascade "subduction zone" also is the area that can produce magnitude-9 earthquakes when the plates slip or break. The magma from this zone makes its way to the surface in Northwest volcanoes” (Esser, 2012). Although the Indians called it “Louwala-Clough,” or “Smoking Mountain,” it was given its current name in 1792 by British Royal Navy Captain, George Vancouver, in honor of Alleyne Fitzherbert, who was titled Baron St. Helens (History - Mt. St. Helens, 2014).
After approximately 123 years of lying dormant, several small earthquakes were recorded in Mid-March of 1980. These small quakes were followed by an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 (Richter scale) on March 20, at 3:47 p.m. PST (History - Mt. St. Helens, 2014). Multiple quakes were recorded in the days that followed causing small avalanches of ice and snow. However, the mountain showed no signs of eruption. It is unclear if it was one explosion or two nearly coinciding ones that were heard throughout the region at approximately 12:36 p.m. PST on March 27th. At that time, the mountain began to emit steam and ash into the air. These initial explosions created a 250-foot-wide crater within the larger establ...


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...onomy of the Cascade Mountain Range.



Works Cited

Esser, D. (2012). New Study Looking Deep Under Mount St. Helens. Associated Press.
Ficke, S. (2010, November 8). Introductin to Mount St. Helens. Retrieved May 3, 2014, from Mount St. Helens Eruption: mountsthelens.webunc.edu
History - Mt. St. Helens. (2014). Retrieved May 4, 2014, from MountStHelens.com Infromation Resource Center: http://mountsthelens.com/history-1.html
Madren, C. (2012, Fall). Recovering From Disaster. American Forests, 118(3).
n.d. (2006, May 6). Mt St Helens Rebuilds the Cone Blasted out 26 Years Ago. The New Zealand Herald.
Pendick, D. (1995). Return to Mount St Helens. Earth, 4(2), 24.
Tarbuck, E. J. (2012). Earth Science (13 ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Welch, C. (2001, May 22). Towns, Isolated by Bolcano, Push New Road for Tourism. The Seattle Times (WA).

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