I've been slowly going through the extensive USGS collection of Mount St. Helens eruption photos, downloading each and every one and bringing you the best of what I find. I put that project on the back burner with other projects and the election heating up. But the election is over, and with the way Trump and his team are handling the government's internet presence, I'm not entirely certain we'll have a USGS database to spelunk for much longer. So I'm trying to get this done.
Here are some of the many delights I've found. There will be many, many more to come.
Absolutely marvelous photo of a phreatic explosion in the pumice deposits from the May 18th eruption. This photo is from May 23rd - things were still hot enough to melt ice and snow and heat them into steam, which would then blow out craters in the volcanic debris covering the North Fork Toutle River valley. These aren't technically eruptions, although they are a part of the overall volcanic activity.
Lovely patterns in this pyroclastic flow from June 12, 1980. It's like Mount St. Helens was painting designs on a canvas she'd made.
I've hit a streak of black and white photos, and I'm trying to mix it up, but this one's just too striking to pass up. This is what a mountain looks like after it's spilled its guts all over the landscape.
OMIGOSH, everybody, look at this delicious erosion happening in the volcanic deposits along what is probably Smith Creek. I am in love with these lacy little waterfalls carving scallops in all that lovely debris.
(Now, before creationists go getting all giddy over it, rapid erosion in unconsolidated debris is a heck of a lot different than erosion of solid rock. You can't use this to back up your asinine ideas about the Grand Canyon being rapidly carved. Sorry not sorry.)
October 1980 lava dome. Note the wee little helicopter parked on the crater floor. Mount St. Helens spent years building domes and them blowing them to smithereens before she finally settled down and left one standing.
St. Helens Bridge and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Human for scale.
A confirmed adorer of the good science of rock-breaking, Dana Hunter explores geology with an emphasis on volcanic processes, geology news, and the intersection of science and society. Her home away from SciAm is Dana Hunter's Unconformity