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Thirty years ago today.

May 18, 2010 \pm\31 2:45 pm

This short video is both fascinating and horrifying. “Solid” ground. Yeah, right.

Thirty years ago today, Mt. St. Helens erupted. I was finishing up my degree in Geology then. I knew people who knew David Johnston, the USGS volcanologist who radioed “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” I remember standing around the hallways of the San Jose State University Geology Dept. talking with folks during the following days. Most of us felt that perverted attraction, that “oh cool!” reaction, despite the magnitude of the disaster. I imagine storm chasers and hurricane hunters feel the same thing. The exhilaration of dread. WWAATD indeed.

I’ve never visited Mt. St. Helens. I’ve seen it from a plane a few years back. Later this summer, I’ll be out in Seattle for my oldest daughter’s wedding celebration, and I plan on taking a trip down there. A pilgrimage of sorts.

The Guardian has a Volcanoes in literature quiz. Note: I haven’t taken it yet, but I will.

And yeah, I’ll ask that ubiquitous question. Where were you 30 years ago today?

  1. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    May 18, 2010 \pm\31 3:00 pm 3:00 pm

    Oh, and so as not to leave people on a depressed-cause-the-world-is-ending note:
    The Toads of Mount St. Helens

  2. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    May 18, 2010 \pm\31 3:23 pm 3:23 pm

    Okay, that quiz at The Guardian was hard, I’m embarrassed to say. I guessed on most and googlecheated on a few that I had nofuckingclue. Still I got a 9 out of 10. I missed number 6. Hangs head in shame.

  3. May 18, 2010 \pm\31 3:39 pm 3:39 pm

    Googlecheated. That’s new.

  4. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    May 18, 2010 \pm\31 4:11 pm 4:11 pm

    Naaaaa, I don’t think so. Just google it. ;-)

  5. May 18, 2010 \pm\31 4:35 pm 4:35 pm

    My dad flew over Mt. St. Helens on his way to Alaska 30 years ago and–in true dad fashion–he’s been telling the same version of the story over and over for the last 29 years.

  6. May 18, 2010 \pm\31 4:58 pm 4:58 pm

    I can see Mt. St. Helens on clear days. I didn’t live in Portland when it went down, but just looking at the flattop is stunning. The drive to the third visitor center is long, but incredibly worth it — as a geologist, you’ll especially appreciate the magnitude, the still-downed trees. This is the summer I’m going to climb to the crater’s rim.

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