Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18th

Oman/Combs; 1980; Volcanics

It's the 29th Anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I have two much older brothers in Washington State as well as other family. I was visiting about 23 miles away on the downwind side when it blew. The earthquake knocked me out of bed. But those had been going on for a couple of days, so initially no one was excited. Then someone looked outside. A sight I will never forget. It was a Sunday. We missed church.

I'd gotten my pilots license as a junior (couldn't drive my Dad's car yet but. . ) So I took my Dad up to take a close up look at the devastation that stripped and leveled trees 10 miles away after it was safe to do so. Going back, even months and years after, it was still barren. It took a long time for life to return to the area, but it has.So for today, just a remembrance as to why we shouldn't underestimate mother nature. Fifty-seven people lost their lives that day because they, or someone they trusted, did.

We have another volcano perking away in our country. Go visit new Range sidebar member Rev. Paul - Way Up North to see all the latest on Mt. Redoubt as well as ponder some beautiful photography and stories of the Alaskan landscape with he and his family.

With that, I couldn't help but post pictures of supper, as, come to think of it, it sort of looks like a volcano -
Shrimp and Bacon Eggs Benedict
Home on the Range Style

(Not a force of nature, but if you have these with a bourbon brownie your pant seams may explode)


  1. I think my cholesterol just went up 13 points looking at that...

  2. Remember Mt. St Helens well- And 57 lives were lost because the majority didn't believe anything would happen... They were proved wrong, in no uncertain terms! The whole Pacific Rim is acting up lately, and one wonders what is next.

  3. One of my uncles was living a few miles from there when it blew. What a mess! He sent us all coffee cans full of ash, and several large pumice rocks that I still have.

  4. Lady Brigid,

    Thanks for the incredible pictures. Even in the violence and tragedy of Mt. St. Helens, there was majesty and a dangerous beauty.

    Being a huge fan of eggs benedict, the shrimp and bacon benedict are up on the list to try. Thanks!

  5. I remember the news reports from before the eruption and the aftermath.

    Twenty-three miles downwind? That was even a little close for comfort wasn't it?

    My cholesterol count and my pants seams are in danger just looking at these food photos :-)

  6. I remember the first time I saw Mt. St Helens. We were in the area for a family vacation. One moment we were driving through a lush green forest, and then it looked like a corn field hit by a bad wind storm. But it was trees! Amazing! I can't imagine what it must have been like to have been so close when it blew.

  7. Thanks for the anniversary! I was lying in the long grass in my sister's back yard in Lansing, MI. Things got very silent for a few seconds . . . birds quit, insects quit, my sister's mutt doggy froze against my side. I thought "something is happening"; and then, the world exhaled and continued on. Later, I did check the time, and it was spot on. I heard someone once describe a major tectonic event as "ringing the earth's bell". I'm not sure quite how to explain it, but I distinctly felt what happened at St. Helens that day in 1980, and felt it from over fifteen hundred miles away.

    Go figure.

  8. You make me sooo hungry - tasty looking vittles - again.

    One of my first memories ever is of looking over the side of a canoe on Spirit Lake....beautiful clear water and tall evergreens all around the lake....but I bet everything looked tall to me that young.

    Highschool age I remember going outside the house - we lived in Beaverton - and seeing the eruption clouds before, after and including the big one. On May 18 a bunch of us went above the Skyline Cemetery in the west hills of Portland and caught some of the eruption - it was pretty amazing even after missing the initial landside and eruption.

    I remember ash clean up duty at home too - nothing like east of the mountain. Those people had it turn to night.

    Like a lot of people I became a little complacent concerning the mountain. I hoped it didn't blow our way but I knew it's drainage was a long way away and wouldn't effect us other than possible ash. But I did fear for my grandparents who lived in Castle Rock Washington. They made it thru great but the Toutle River and Valley was a sight to see. I always felt for what was lost from that blast - fast change like that is tough.

    I wonder what Harry saw.

  9. Hello, again.
    Is 'convined' a secret word that will identify you to other members of the Secret and Ancient Order of Bacon Lovers, or have the typo elves been at your page?

    Best wishes,

  10. Rev. Paul,

    Watch the photos, on the Redoubt website, of the lava dome in the summit crater. It continues to crumble. That means it is moving upwards and the gasses (from the "steaming") are forming acids that are "rotting" the rock.

    That lava dome is the cork-in-the-bottle. Redoubt clears it's throat and blows the cork...

    The venting gasses did the same kind of work on the side of Mt. Saint Helens, hence the sideways directed blast.

    Better those awesome looking Shrimp and Bacon Eggs Benedicts of Brigid's. No gas. ;-)

  11. Ed - I remember Spirit Lake once from when we visited it. I was perhaps 10 and we went water skiing there with someone my brother knew. I have photos, taken with an old Polaroid camera. Even with the lousy photography, the blue of the lake was unimaginable.

  12. Mr. Wolf - Dang typo elves.

    They've been drinking again with the grammar fairy, I can tell you.

  13. I think a Volcano could blow it's top in my back yard, and I wouldn't get up until I finished those eggs.

  14. I remember that blow up. Thankfully, I was a long way away. On the other side of the planet.

  15. Makes me feel young.

    My mother was in the hospital, recovering from my birth the day before, when Mt. St. Helens erupted.

    When I was a teen, I bought a couple of books and viewed a video on the after-effects of the eruption, partly due to the coincidence of my birth, and partly due to an interest in geology.

    What floored me was the megaton-equivalent of the eruption; the erupted released something like 1600 times the energy released by the bomb used at Hiroshima.

  16. If you choose to live in a geologically active area, one must expect to occasionally be involved. I lived for 3 years in the Aleutian Islands...there were volcanos to the east and west of Adak, and we had regular earth quakes all the time. Our barraks were on rollers so we had some wild rides.

    The beauty is unmatched, but the terror can be equally unmatched.

    WV: phinga

  17. The one that concerns me a bit is Yellowstone. There are still rumblings going on the the tilt meter keeps changing.

    My wife and I last visited there in 2003 and it was still recovering from the fires. Didn't see much wildlife except for the wolves. They were all over.

    On the other topic, I don't think I've ever had Eggs Benedict of any variety. I'll have to try some.

  18. I hiked to the rim in the mid-1990s, it was an awesome sight. Standing there knowing that a little over a decade earlier there was another 1,000 feet of mountain above where I stood.

    It still felt very much alive. Near constant rock slides inside the bowl and steam. One day I hope to do it again and see how things have changed.

  19. Was driving down the La Push road out on the west end of the Olypmpic Pennensula and heard this Boom -Boom- got into camp and everyone was talking about the Mountain blowing. That must be 200 miles away, give or take..

  20. That looks amazing. My wife informed me they make a similar dish not too far from here.

  21. Everytime I hear Al Gore state how we humans are destroying the earth, I think of these events and wonder just who is stronger, humans or Mama Earth? We can do some damage, but compared to Nature, we are complete amateurs.

    I have family up there sorta close to St. Helens, the extreme southeast corner of Washington in Sunnyside / Prosser / Richmond area. They got a pretty good dusting of ash.

    Can't believe its been 29 years . . . wow.

  22. I remember the day well. I was traveling back to the Univ. of Wash. from visiting my parents in Portland for weekend. Amtrack was the mode of transport, paralleling I-5.

    As we crossed the Toutle river, the engineer / conductor told us to "look back over our shoulder toward the mountain as it had been quite active this morning". At that point, I noticed the State Patrol blocking the I-5 bridge over the river as the pyroplastic flow was just beginning to work it's way downstream that far. Looking at the mountain from that vantage, it did not seem to have blown it's top, just kind of socked in.

    When we offloaded in Seattle, it became apparent what had occurred as they were canceling the southbound, and eastbound trains. One of my best friends was actually in Eastern Washington at an ROTC drill competition, and was stranded on the drive back as they shut down all of the roads. Given the ash that was accumulating in the air filter of the car, it was probably best to stop rather than push on.

    I remember the day well

  23. Trust me, Mother Earth!
    We just had another 4.1 earthquake at the same location the 4.7 hit Sunday night!

  24. Ah, yes. Just a couple of weeks before I graduated from college. I remember seeing one of the girls in my dorm washing a dark blue car the day it blew.

    Took most of 24 hours for the drift, but it wasn't quite so blue the next day. Of course, we were most of 300 miles away.

    Still. 300 miles, and it still put enough crap in the air that you could tell something big had happened that far away.

    Yeah, Al's got it all wrong. Mankind ain't got anything on nature.

    wv: gilmon - Bob Marley's definition of the creature from the black lagoon.

  25. Yeap. 23 miles is a bit close for comfort.

    Do you know why I like to meditate about? The fact that Man can't make a mountain. . . or a volcano.


  26. Joan - thank you. So very true.

  27. That mountain continued to erupt for months. I was on a Northwest 727 that flew into an ash plume. At one point the crew has us on a base leg for the Olympia airport. They continued to SeaTac at about 1100 AGL. After we landed I was able to walk to a window and see the aircraft. Little paint remained on the nose and the cockpit windows were obscure. That crew saved some lives that day.

  28. Some further Mt Saint Helens pictures here:

  29. As a geologist I remember Helens quite well. It was an interesting explosion and at the time I was studying ash flow tuffs so I looked at it a lot and visited and sampled the fall out and flows.

    The interesting aspect of Helens was that geologically it was just a pop. Quite small of an eruption when compared to the miocene eruptions in the west or even events like the Bishop tuff down in California. While it as been a while, I remember that the Bishop dropped 300 m of ash flow locally and the ash layer made it to Washington.


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