During May 2015, the Washington Emergency Management Division, Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, USGS-Cascades Volcano Observatory, and other emergency management agencies are coordinating events for Volcano Preparedness Month. Residents are encouraged to become familiar with volcano risk within their communities and to take steps that reduce potential effects on people and property. Informative talks by USGS-CVO scientists are planned:
May 18 marks the 35th anniversary of the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens. The eruption remains a seminal historical event; studying it and its aftermath revolutionized the way scientists approach the field of volcanology. Special events are planned at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and Coldwater Science and Learning Center from May 16-18.
In April and May, bring scientists into your classroom with Volcano Explorers, live, interactive video presentations by preeminent scientists and educators. The presentations are aimed at 5th – 8th grade classes that study earth history, landforms or geologic processes. Using webinar technology, Volcano Explorers easily works in nearly any classroom with a computer, projector and internet connection. Visit the Volcano Explorers web for more information.
Applications are being accepted for a five-day geology and technology field camp for middle school girls at Mount St. Helens. GeoGirls will explore the volcano, work with scientists, do hands-on experiments and create a short video and website about their week to share with family and friends. Applications are accepted now until May 20. Visit the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center GeoGirls web page for more information on the application process.
The 1980 activity of Mount St. Helens began on March 20 with an intensifying swarm of earthquakes. The first steam-blast eruption occurred a week later, with high levels of seismic activity, formation of a summit crater, and deformation of the north flank of the volcano. This continued up to the climactic eruption on the morning of May 18. Follow the USGS scientists as the events unfolded in 1980, with daily posts about volcanic activity, pictures, and video on the USGS Volcanoes Facebook page.
Mount St. Helens' summit slid away on a sunny morning May 18, 1980, unleashing a powerful landslide and blast that flattened miles of forest, flooded valleys and sent an ash cloud high into the sky; 57 people were killed. Soon after the eruption, USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory scientist Richard Waitt began interviewing witnesses and survivors. Initially, the project was to help scientists document volcanic phenomena, assess hazards, and learn from the mountain. It soon became clear however, that the stories added unique details to the hard data we scientists were gathering. After more than three decades and hundreds of interviews, these stories are published in Path of Destruction, Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens — a new glimpse at a defining cataclysm in the region's history. Read more on Mount St. Helens' eruptive past.
Join us July 27–31, 2015, for a 5-day educator workshop at Mount Rainier. The workshop features informative talks on Cascade volcanoes and volcanic processes, ideas for classroom activities, hikes into the field, and tips for organizing school field trips to visit the volcano. There is no charge for this workshop and camping is available to participants. Registration information is at Mount Rainier Teacher Professional Development.