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Mike in Seattle

Mt. St. Helens

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A few days after it happened, the ash started to fall downwind. I remember every morning for about a week, my old man used to drive me to school and first brushed the ash off the car like a light snow.

Aside from the loss of life and property, it made me feel proud to get to live downwind from a friggen volcano.

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I was in Salem Or at the time.

A few times, wind shifted & we had only visible amounts on cars & stuff.

mount-st-helens-ash-map-750.gif

Spokane, Ritzville, Yakima  is where the top landed

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One of my favorite places to visit to stand in awe of nature. Coming in from the south side, you literally come around a bend and see the blow down and destruction and then drive up to windy ridge. 

Nature is quietly and definitively taking that land back but the destruction was immense. 

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There are moments when you sudddenly stand in awe of our natural world. It has happened to me on the ocean on several occasions but there are other moments as well and looking up at that mountain and the surrounding area must certainly be one.........

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We were in bed that morning when there was a muffled CRUMP and it rattled our windows. I remember thinking it odd that they would be blasting on a Sunday morning at the construction site 2 blocks away. Didn't find out for a couple of hours that it was MSH.

My BIL thought his MIL had fallen out of bed upstairs in his house. :D

We were 330 miles away. A never to be forgotten event.

I doubt Johnston had time to choke - it would have been like getting nuked being that close.

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I was sent to San Diego for 5 weeks for training a couple of weeks before it erupted. The news coverage was spotty and I did not know if I would have a home to return to. As it was, the ash went East. Some subsequent eruptions did send ash NW to were I live. I had a small amount of ash on the boat during a weekend cruise.

What is really awesome is climbing the mountain and looking down into the crater. I have done that a few times. The lava dome looks small and yet it is huge. A few years ago, I hiked into the blast zone. The amount of devastation is still awesome. On the east side of the mountain is a huge plain devoid of vegetation. The impression is that everything was covered over with debris from the eruption.

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Some of the ash got blown out to sea and circled back in.  We were on a sailboat coming in from the ocean, sailing down the Straits of Juan de Fuca in light air and totally out of news contact, when this gray, greasy ash started floating down on the deck.  No idea what it was.  Cold war still very much on.  Made everyone very nervous until we could pick up a Port Angeles radio station.  Heard about St. Helen's much to our relief.

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41 minutes ago, sailm8 said:

Remember Harry Truman who wouldn't move away?

Yes, but only because it was in the children's book version of the story that we must have read 30 times.  I got to see it in person on a rainy afternoon at the end of two months on Orcas and a few days near Baker.  Contrast.

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2 hours ago, sailm8 said:

Remember Harry Truman who wouldn't move away?

Yep. Tough old bird. There used to be a bar in his memory in Anchorage. In the Northern Lights Mall, as I recall. At least there was in the early '80s

 

WL

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It's funny...I was thinking about this on my way to the office this morning...it sure makes me feel old to think that it was 37 years ago!  I lived down on the Oregon coast and was out in the yard when I heard an explosion.  Blasting at the relatively close quarry wasn't happening on the weekends and it was shortly later that we put 2 and 2 together that it was the mountain going off. 

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I was out on the deck drinking a cup of coffee looking right at the mountain when it exploded. You could still see Mt St Helens from Seattle on a really clear morning back then.  There was a soft muffled low frequency thud, and the mountain kind of shimmered and dissapeared.  Then the ash cloud started.  I remember looking at Mt Rainer, wondering if it was going to go up too, and what that would  be like.

It was a beautifully clear day, and the sky was that impossible blue you get in Seattle in the spring after a lot of rain.  Mt Rainier was covered in fresh snow, white and gleaming.  The morning was quiet and the air was clean and intoxicating.

I was down in Morton a week later.   Put panty hose over the carburetor so the ash wouldn't choke for the drive, South of Olympia, ash was piled by the side of the freeway like 2'-3' of plowed snow.  The valley Morton was in (in the Yellow Zone) was untouched by the explosion.  The only way you'd know the mountain had blown was to look straight up and see the ash cloud towering above, to 35,000 feet, billowing violently into the sky.  Didn't make a sound, which was beyond spooky. No ash fell on that little town, so close to the crater.  The valley was lush and evergreen.  Morton is on one of the approaches to the park-  once the state allowed folks back to the mountain, you could drive over a couple ridges and there it was like the moon, only with millions of blown over grey scorched trees,  No life at all.  Everything dead.

It made the idea of nuclear war seem weird and strange.  The violence was so selective....

 

 

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I had been up all night baling alfalfa hay in Eastern Washington just north of the Oregon border just east of where the Columbia river turns to the north.  Tons and tons of hay bales laying in the field, I just had to pick them up and stack them using our only bale wagon. 

Mid-morning I looked west and saw (as far as I knew) the ugliest, darkest, tallest, nastiest looking rain cloud coming our way.  I was dismayed, as I thought the rain would ruin our hay..  When I got the word on MSH, I was very relieved and overjoyed that our hay was not going to be rained on.. I didn't even think about the fact that 57 people had perished..  What a dick.    

The ash cloud mostly missed our farm, and the price of hay skyrocketed..   We made good money that summer.

 

MFBR

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When MSH blew it reminded me of when Baker was steaming in the 70's. A surprising number of people thing Baker is extinct but it's only dormant. We'll get a great view if it does blow one day.

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1 minute ago, SloopJonB said:

When MSH blew it reminded me of when Baker was steaming in the 70's. A surprising number of people thing Baker is extinct but it's only dormant. We'll get a great view if it does blow one day.

Same with Shasta and several other volcanoes.   Not a question of if, but when. 

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9 hours ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

It was such a pretty, almost perfect, volcano before it blew

corps-engineers-archives_mount_st_helens

the view into the caldera from the rim, surveying the devastation, is impressive. not a halfbad ski down in spring either.

''Twas our own Mt Fuji.....

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7 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

A surprising number of people thing Baker is extinct but it's only dormant. We'll get a great view if it does blow one day.

I've got a perfect view of this one from my office if/when it decides to do something spectacular!

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I was in 3rd grade. We had a vial of the ash in class. This guy named Vineet would make up stories about it for Show and Tell based on Lord of the Rings.

 

It was mythical.

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1 hour ago, austin1972 said:

I was in 3rd grade. We had a vial of the ash in class. This guy named Vineet would make up stories about it for Show and Tell based on Lord of the Rings.

 

It was mythical.

3rd grade??!! Oh heck Austin........I was out of the military, was a firefighter and had been a medic for 2 years already.........crap........I'm old.......

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I was in Silva Bay, Gabriola Is. In the gulf islands that Sunday morning.Having a coffee when I heard the "whump" thinking what was that noise? I crossed the gulf back to West Van and didn't know what happened until I saw the news on the box. But I think we all knew that something was coming up. 

All those volcanos are in the ring of fire. Very active place and I thought Baker was emitting steam 30 years(?). I believe that any of these volcanos can stop being dormant but I'm not expert. I'd be more concerned the Pacific/North American plate slipping one day. Some in scientific field that we are due for a 9 point mega quake. Places like Ditchmond near the Vancouver airport, that is built on river silt, highly likely to be subject liquefaction all the way out to Hope. Places like Chilliwack will be the shallow end of the pool at best. Same thing with Puget Sound cities. Some say it's not whether if it's going to happen but when. 

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I think the talk about a mega quake in Vancouver is BS - the major fault line - the northern end of the San Andreas in effect - is way out in the Pacific here.

When was the last time a big quake in L.A. affected Palm Springs or one in SF Bay affected Sacramento or Tahoe?

We are in much the same relation to the big fault as Palm Springs and Tahoe.

My old boss had a geologist brother and he agreed - there are lots of minor fault lines around here that can shake pretty good but the biggie is too far away.

I wouldn't want to be on the beach on the west coast when the biggie slips though - major tsunami risk there, especially the Washington coast and down Juan De Fuca. By the time it got through all the islands and across Georgia Strait I doubt we'd see anything in Vancouver.

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4 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

I think the talk about a mega quake in Vancouver is BS - the major fault line - the northern end of the San Andreas in effect - is way out in the Pacific here.

When was the last time a big quake in L.A. affected Palm Springs or one in SF Bay affected Sacramento or Tahoe?

We are in much the same relation to the big fault as Palm Springs and Tahoe.

My old boss had a geologist brother and he agreed - there are lots of minor fault lines around here that can shake pretty good but the biggie is too far away.

I wouldn't want to be on the beach on the west coast when the biggie slips though - major tsunami risk there, especially the Washington coast and down Juan De Fuca. By the time it got through all the islands and across Georgia Strait I doubt we'd see anything in Vancouver.

We really don't know if or when a major quake Will occur. In my life, I have experienced two somewhat major, damaging earthquakes in the Puget Sound region. And there is historic evidence in Puget Sound of earthquakes in the 9 range. Where I live, in the last couple of months there has been dozens of small earthquakes under my house and within a half mile radius. Scientists say "don't worry" and I am not.

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On 5/20/2017 at 7:55 AM, Mike in Seattle said:

I won't have a good view.

I'll be WAY "outa Dodge" before any of them get to that point.

I hear Snakes are drawn to shakes 

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Perfect timing - Was scanning in slides from that era.. We climbed Mt Rainier that July for Dad's 50th birthday.

Dirty snow everywhere, ash in the streets

St Helens.jpg

Ash in the streets.jpg

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20 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

I think the talk about a mega quake in Vancouver is BS - the major fault line - the northern end of the San Andreas in effect - is way out in the Pacific here.

When was the last time a big quake in L.A. affected Palm Springs or one in SF Bay affected Sacramento or Tahoe?

We are in much the same relation to the big fault as Palm Springs and Tahoe.

My old boss had a geologist brother and he agreed - there are lots of minor fault lines around here that can shake pretty good but the biggie is too far away.

I wouldn't want to be on the beach on the west coast when the biggie slips though - major tsunami risk there, especially the Washington coast and down Juan De Fuca. By the time it got through all the islands and across Georgia Strait I doubt we'd see anything in Vancouver.

Well, I was in Palm Springs for the North Ridge quake in '94 and got shook out of bed.

Yes, I understand that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", but PS is affected by LA quakes.

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Man, Northridge was a SOB. We were living in San Juan Capistrano......I'd guess at least a good 75 miles from the quake. We got quite a ride and had some damage. It does depend on location and depth but I'd certainly think PS gets some fun.

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And so do we - Seattle got hit pretty badly some years back.

I'm talking about the proverbial "big one", a 9+ that is supposed to take down everything - older bridges, high rises that aren't suspended, liquefaction of all delta land and so forth.

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He was prepared - or as prepared as possible for a "normal" eruption.

Nobody had any inkling that a lateral blast was in the cards. Who could anticipate that the greatest landslide in recorded history would blow 1/3 of the mountain away?

The whole MSH blast was a complete freak occurrence.

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