It's been forty years since the day Mount St. Helens erupted, changing the face of the mountain, our understanding of volcanoes, and countless lives forever.

None of us who were alive at the time will ever forget it. Volcanic eruptions are exciting enough by themselves; when they happen in the lower 48 states, within view of several large cities and an easy road trip away for people from two countries, they become epic.

I wish we could mark the occasion with a road trip, but unfortunately with a pandemic still raging that's right out. But there are many virtual events you can attend no matter where in the world you are. All you need is an internet connection and a little time. Let's do some volcanology! And don't worry if you miss the time slot; most of these events will be available on YouTube after the live broadcast.

Available now:

Mount St. Helens Goes Boom! with Bill Nye the Volcano Guy

The Mount St. Helens Institute and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe had Bill Nye on to discuss the volcano and other nifty science topics. Usually, this is done as a live event complete with tickets, but had to move to cyberspace due to the coronavirus. That's happy news for those of us who wouldn't have been able to make it!

The Mount St. Helens Institute, which does phenomenal work educating the public about our not-always-friendly neighborhood volcano. You can support their work here.

40 years ago this month, Mt. St. Helens erupted. We are volcano scientists. Ask us anything! Reddit AMA

Volcano experts answered Reddit users' questions about Mount St. Helens, volcanology, and everything. There's a treasure trove of information in this thread.

Available later today:

Geology Lecture Series: 40th Anniversary of Mt St Helens' Eruption from Southwestern Oregon Community College and SWOCC Foundation & Alumni

8:32am Pacific / 11:32am Eastern

Join Dr. Kathy Cashman of the University of Bristol for a talk about Mount St. Helens, volcanology, and volcano lore. USGS volcanologist Richard Waitt will then give an overview of the eruption and eyewitness accounts.

Mount St. Helens: A Landscape Across Time from the Portland Art Museum, Mount St. Helens Institute, Gifford Pinchot National Forest-USFS, and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe

3:30pm Pacific / 6:30pm Eastern

Explore the art, culture, and science of Mount St. Helens in this lecture featuring the exhibition Volcano! Mount St. Helens in Art.

St Helens 40th Anniversary Program from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

6:30pm Pacific / 9:30 Eastern

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network will be presenting a very thorough review of the 1980 eruption, including its tectonic setting. They'll also include a first-person account from seismologist Steve Malone, who was one of the first people to recognize something big was about to happen when the first earthquake struck in March.

Mount St. Helens Rocked Our World! What We’ve Learned Since 1980 from OMSI Virtual Science Pub

6:30pm Pacific / 9:30 Eastern

Research geologist Heather Wright, who is currently with the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, will discuss one of her favorite volcanoes and the progress we've made understanding mountains that go boom.

Virtual Story Circle: Voices of the Mount St. Helens Community from Washington State Parks and the Washington State History Museum

6:30pm Pacific / 9:30 Eastern

If you've got kids, this presentation with first-person stories of the mountain and an activity may be just the thing! For a list of materials you'll need, see here.

More events are listed here at the Mount St. Helens Institute and in this article from Oregon Live.

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens taught us lessons about the behavior, hazards, and monitoring of volcanoes we'd do well to never forget. Thank you to all of the scientists who risk their lives to ensure we can live more safely with these beautiful but wildly dangerous fire mountains.

Mount St. Helens before and after her cataclysmic eruption. Credit: D. Molenaar USGS