37 Years Ago, America’s Relationship with Volcanoes Changed Forever
This turned into one of the most well-studied eruptions in human history: American volcanologists had eyes on the mountain from the beginning, and were quick to get instruments to her slopes the instant she woke up. We were able to see the process of an eruption from the initial stirrings of magma deep within the ground, to the paroxysmal blast and its aftermath.
Mount St. Helens was special. She was home-grown, she was easy to access even after she destroyed bridges and roads, and she’s stayed active for decades, teaching generations of volcanologists what to expect before, during, and after a major eruption. We’ve never been able to study a volcano quite this conveniently before.