Mount St. Helens eruption’s 40th anniversary to be observed Monday

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The 40th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption is Monday, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has pulled archived photos of the historic event.

Mount St. Helens erupted May 18, 1980, spewing ash into the atmosphere for days afterward.

Leading up to this, however, were months of uncertainty, as the mountain had been leaking volcanic gas since March. Officials had declared states of emergency, and businesses threatened to sue over the loss of evenue, as authorities urged people to avoid the area.

DNR pulled some photos from a month before the eruption, taken by geologists on a reconnaissance flight.

State Emergency Management weighed in on the event last Wednesday, suggesting a parallel to the St. Helens eruption and the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Officials meet. Scientists think it’s to close areas, but discussion turns to opening access,” the U.S. Geological Survey tweeted. “Blind-sided, they point to hazard map & say red/blue zones don’t acknowledge miles of real hazards. But plan moves forward to reconsider boundaries.”

Just five days after this event, noted Emergency Management, the volcano erupted, killing 57 people.

For more information, as well as virtual exhibits, you can visit the Mount St. Helens Institute website here.