Image shows the upper part of Mount St. Helens's truncated summit, with an enormous ash cloud roaring from it. Image is in color: the cone and cloud are dark blue-gray. The valley in the distance is covered in pale gray ash.
Mount St. Helens in eruption at 9:50am Pacific time on May 18, 1980. Public domain image courtesy USGS.

It's the thirty-sixth anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Please take a moment to remember those who died that beautiful May morning, and to appreciate the power of a volcano to change our lives forever:

REID TURNER BLACKBURN

WALLACE NORWOOD BOWERS

JOEL K. COLTEN

RONALD LEE CONNER

TERRY A. CRALL

CLYDE ANDREW CROFT

JOSE A. DIAS

ELLEN DILL

WILLIAM (BILL) DILL

ARLENE H. EDWARDS

JOLENE H. EDWARDS

BRUCE EDWARD FADDIS

JAMES F. FITZGERALD JR.

THOMAS G. GADWA

ALLEN R. HANDY

PAUL HIATT

DAVID A. JOHNSTON

DAY ANDREW KARR

DAY BRADLEY KARR

MICHAEL MURRAY KARR

BOB M. KASEWETER

CHRISTY LIANN KILLIAN

JOHN G. KILLIAN

HAROLD (BUTCH) KIRKPATRICK

ROBERT E. LANDSBURG

ROBERT LYNDS

GERALD O. MARTIN

GERALD LLOYD MOORE

KEITH A. MOORE

SHIRLEY (SAM) MOORE

KEVIN CHRISTOPHER MORRIS

MICHELLE LEA MORRIS

EDWARD JOSEPH MURPHY

ELEANOR JEANNE MURPHY

DONALD R. PARKER

JEAN ISABELL PARKER

NATALIE ALI PARKER

RICHARD A. PARKER

WILLIAM PAUL PARKER

MERLIN JAMES PLUARD

RUTH KATHLEEN PLUARD

FRED D. ROLLINS

MARGERY ELLEN ROLLINS

PAUL F. SCHMIDT

BARBARA LEA SEIBOLD

RONALD DALE SEIBOLD

DONALD JAMES SELBY

EVLANTY V. SHARIPOFF

LEONTY V. SKOROHODOFF

DOUG THAYER

HARRY R. TRUMAN

JAMES S. TUTE

VELVETIA (VELVET) TUTE

KAREN MARIE VARNER

BEVERLY C. WETHERALD

KLAUS ZIMMERMAN

This was an event that changed the way we view the volcanoes in our back yard. You can read about the catastrophic eruption here. Can you believe there were survivors who were directly above the summit when it blew?

Monitoring active volcanoes is a terribly dangerous profession. Learn about the geologists who sacrificed their lives to keep us informed and safe here.

Volcanoes generally don't erupt without warning. A fascinating sequence of events lead up to the May 18th cataclysm. You can follow them starting here.