Mt. St. Helens

September 28, 2000


Provided by: Martin Ruzek, USRA
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Martin Ruzek

The catastrophic eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 ranks among the most important natural events of the twentieth century in the United States. Mount St. Helens is an example of a composite or stratovolcano. These are explosive volcanoes that are generally steep-sided, symmetrical cones built up by the accumulation of debris from previous eruptions and consist of alternating layers of lava flows, volcanic ash and cinder. Massive avalanches and mudflows, generated by the near-instantaneous melting of deep snowpacks on the flanks of the mountain, devastated an area more than 20 km to the north and east of the former summit, and rivers choked with all sorts of debris were flooded more than 100 km away. The area of almost total destruction was about 600 sq. km.

This image was acquired by Landsat 7 on Aug. 22, 1999. It was produced at 30-m resolution using bands 3, 2, and 1 to display red, green, & blue, respectively ("true color"). The ground photos were taken almost a year later.

Related Links: