Mount St. Helens is one of the Pacific Northwest’s many volcanic peaks. Part of what is known as the Pacific Rim or the Pacific Ring of Fire, Mount St. Helens is famous because of its recent and continuing activity. Mount St. Helens is part of the Cascade Mountain Range in the state of Washington, about midway between Seattle and Portland.
It was 36 years ago that Mount St. Helens erupted.
The blast took more than 1,300 feet off the top and rained volcanic ash for miles around. Eastern Washington was covered in volcanic ash, and the cloud drifted east across the United States in 3 days and encircled Earth in 15 days.
- 3,600 years ago, Native Americans abandoned hunting grounds devastated by an enormous eruption four times larger than the May 18, 1980 eruption.
2. Most of Mount St. Helens is younger than 3,000 years old (younger than the pyramids of Egypt).
3. Mount St. Helens isn’t named after a saint — it was named by George Vancouver, the British naval explorer who charted the Pacific Northwest in the 1790s, for his friend, Baron St Helens. The baron, the whose given name was Alleyne Fitzherbert, served as a diplomat for the British government in Brussels, Paris, Russia, Spain, and elsewhere.
4. Small plants and trees beneath the winter snow, and roots protected by soil, survived the May 18, 1980 eruption and now thrive.