I brought you some pretties, my dear volcano lovers. I've been going through the USGS ScienceBase Catalog, sorting Mount St. Helens images from the 1980 eruptive episode. I'm finding some jaw-dropping photos, many of which we'll thoroughly enjoy as our Catastrophe series continues. But I couldn't wait to share, so here's the first batch of what will be many photos that I thrust at you whilst squeeing loudly. Yes, I am that excited over the results of a volcanic eruption.

This one was taken a week after the May 18th eruption. Wow, amirite?

Image shows the hollowed-out remains of Mount St. Helens after the debris avalanche and eruption that removed nearly 2,000 feet of its summit. New snow has fallen, dusting the barren volcanic deposits. Partly cloudy skies blend into the steam rising from the empty crater. There is no dome yet.
Oblique aerial view across Spirit Lake toward Mount St. Helens, one week after the eruption. Low cloud cover. Skamania County, Washington. May 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Fabulous view across the pumice plain at Mount St. Helens. This is from May 23rd, 1980.

Image shows a pale gray, nearly flat expanse of rocks and ash in the foreground. Beyond it, a gully can be seen just before bare ridges and mountains rise, dusted with gray ash and white snow. From the right, a pyroclastic flow is rolling across the pumice plain in the middle of the photo.

North from pumice flow. Temperature site PT5-18-PF81, Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. May 23, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Here's an image that will give you a feel for the scale of the debris avalanche. There's a full-grown human in there somewhere.

Image shows enormous mounds of rocky debris from the summit of Mount St. Helens, dusted in gray ash. To the left, there is a light brownish-gray pile of dirt and rock in the shape of a low ridge. To the center right, there is a huge mound of darker gray debris with a ragged white strip in the center. Parts of the valley are visible in the background, with the ridges bounding the Toutle River valley beyond. In the right foreground, a tiny human in a red coat is walking on the debris flow near short black cliffs.

Debris-avalanche deposit from Mount St. Helens. Don Swanson in foreground for scale. Skamania County, Washington. May 22, 1980.

Really excellent photo here showing debris from the May 18 eruption in the foreground. Note the geologist for scale. On the hillside beyond, you can see where the lateral blast annihilated the forest. See how sharp the line is where it stopped? This is two days after the eruption: I'm not sure if the fire burning was set off by the blast or is one that started after.

Image shows a pile of huge trees, stripped of their branches, stacked on top of a pile of tree pieces and volcanic debris. The human crawling around on top of the logs is dwarfed by their size. Beyond is a mountaintop: half of it has been stripped of trees, then there is a standing line of singed trees before the destruction ends and healthy forest covers the rest of the mountain. There is smoke rising from a small fire in the center.

Debris from Mount St. Helens in South Fork of Toutle River. Geologist in background for scale. Cowlitz County, Washington. May 20, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

This looks like a total 80s glamour pose thing. It's actually srs scientific bizness.

Image shows two geologists manning a geodimeter station. There is a line of conifers in the background. The geologist on the right, a dark-haired man with a beard, wearing a dark gray work shirt and khaki trousers with hiking boots, is sitting on a bench with his legs crossed, holding a folder with a page blowing over his hand. His hair is being tossed by the breeze. He is looking at the camera and smiling, looking very fly with his aviator sunglasses. The geologist next to him is wearing a blue workshirt and blue jeans, with a leather pouch hanging from his waist. He is standing in a very dramatic pose behind a piece of equipment mounted on a tripod which basically looks like a metal box with a flap lifted from the front. The man has a clean-shaven, jutting chin and looks almost like a blue-collar superhero. The whole scene gives off an almost Zoolander vibe.

U.S. Geological Survey personnel using geodimeter to measure deformation of north flank of Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. May 4, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Duuuuude this is some seriously large pumice.

Image shows a couple of geologists investigating the pumice plain. The one in the foreground is standing with his arms held out parallel to the ground, holding two huge chunks of pumice in either hand. He is wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt with a denim shirt tied at the waist over it. The man behind him is dressed all in dark colors and is bent over putting a temperature probe into the deposits.

Pumice from Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. May 21, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Soooo in case you ever wondered what it looks like when a volcano falls down and takes its glaciers with it, it's this:

Image shows an enormous dome of ice half-buried in debris avalanche deposits. It's cracked and dusted with gray ash. Beyond it, a ridge shorn of trees rises, a logging road winding along it.

Large block of ice in the debris-avalanche deposit from Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. May 22, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Love this photo of several geologists on a Mount St. Helens ash flow (well, the photo description says ash, but that looks rather like pumice to me). Can you imagine having a job like this?

Image shows four geologists gathered on a jumbled pile of pumice. Two of them on the left are talking to each other. One on the right is watching those two, while the fourth man is leaning down to grab a bit of pumice. In the background, Mount St. Helens sits in clouds of steam.

Geologists on Mount St. Helens May 25 ash flow. Skamania County, Washington. May 30, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

I hope you've enjoyed our first edition. Stay tuned for many more! And if you can't wait, follow me on Facebook, where I've been posting them as I go along.