Mount Saint Helens : An Active Volcano

902 WordsAug 31, 20164 Pages
Mount Saint Helens is an active volcano that is located in the Cascade mountain range in Washington State. This volcano is considered to be one of the most active in the Cascades, and has a complex ecosystem. This volcano remained mostly dormant until May 18, 1980 where it unfortunately erupted and decimated the plant life, wildlife, and forever changed the geography of the surrounding area. Prior to the eruption of Mount Saint Helens, there was a vast ecosystem that thrived in the area surrounding the volcano. The area was home to several large mammals which included elk, black-tailed deer, mountain goat, black bear, and cougars (US Forest, 2015). There was also a vast forest that covered the majority of the area, which consisted of mostly Douglas fir trees. From satellite images of Mount Saint Helens taken before the eruption, we can see how the majority of the area is lush and green, but all that changed in 1980. At 8:32am on May 18th, 1980, a massive earthquake that registered a 5.1 on the Richter scale violently shook the mountain. Within 15 seconds of the quake, the entire north face of Mount Saint Helens began to shift and then slide down the mountain, creating the largest landslide in recorded history. The landslide swept down the mountain at speeds between 70 and 150 miles per hour, and consisted of about 23 square miles of material from the mountain (Smith 2006). The landslide weakened the northern face of the mountain and created a much unexpected reaction, a
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