May 18, 2015 2:54 PM
NH1 Chief Meteorologist - NH1.com
Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the deadliest and most destructive volcano in the history of the United States - the eruption of Mount St. Helens.
The eruption was triggered by 5.1 earthquake that rattled the mountain at 8:32 a.m on the morning of May 18, 1980.
Within 20 seconds of the quak, the largest landslide in recorded history poured down the mountain. A furious rushing river of mud and debris transformed the landscape.
Powerful explosions of ash, steam, rocks and volcanic gas soon followed as the volcano's magma system was depressurized and blew off the top of the mountain and created a horseshoe-shaped crater which is still there today.
The plume of volcanic ash rose over 80,000 feet into sky, spewing ash which rained down as far as 250 miles away.
57 people died, as well as thousands of animals.
Over 200 square miles of dense forest was scorched and flattened.
Mount St. Helens is still active but currently is not erupting.
Scientists say it remains the most active volcano in the Cascades and the most likely to erupt again.
It remains a world-class outdoor laboratory for the study of volcanoes and ecosystems as well as a major recreational and tourist destination.
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