Happy Saint Helens Day!
May 18th, 1980. 20-- wait. Strike that. THIRTY years ago Mount Saint Helens exploded with the force of hundreds of Hiroshimas, throwing a cubic kilometer of dust and ash into the stratosphere and levelling everything in a 120-degree arc with a lateral blast and pyroclastic cloud that reached as far as 20 kilometers from the volcano. The largest eruption in the contiguous United States, it is merely a reminder that the West Coast of the USA is part of the Ring of Fire. Only a relatively few people died that day; if -- or, rather, when -- other volcanoes, such as Mount Ranier, go, the death toll could be vastly higher.
Mount Saint Helens is also a symbol of the power of life to reclaim devastation. Much of the area which was a dead gray moonscape is now green, young forest and fields, and formerly lifeless Spirit Lake boasts oversized rainbow trout in its waters.