Mount St. Helens’ natural beauty is captured in this U.S. Forest Service photo.
The 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens is about a month away and state-wide events marking the anniversary kickoff at Magnuson Park with a documentary film.
“Mount St. Helens: Life from Zero” will screen at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, April 13) at Seattle Musical Theater at the Magnuson Park Community Center Building (at 7120 62nd Ave NE). Shot over a four-year period, the film chronicles the ecological recovery of the area. It’s directed by Austrian filmmaker Jorge Daniel Hissen. Suggested donation is $10.
If you want to get a more up-close look at the area, visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which has added new exhibits, updated interpretive signs and hikes, extra Forest Service staffing and a renovated observatory to prep for the 30th anniversary. Or you can get involved and learn more at the Mount St. Helens Institute.
Here is how U.S. Forest Service describes the massive eruption:
On the morning of May 18, 1980, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake triggered the collapse of the summit and north flank of Mount St. Helens and formed the largest landslide in recorded history.
Gas rich magma and super-heated groundwater trapped inside the volcano were suddenly released in a powerful lateral blast. In less than three minutes, 230 square miles of forest lay flattened. The hot gas and magma melted the snow and ice that covered the volcano. The resulting floodwater mixed with the rock and debris to create concrete-like mudflows that scoured river valleys surrounding the mountain.
A plume of volcanic ash and pumice billowed out of the volcano reaching a height of 15 miles and transformed day into night across Eastern Washington.