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Facts About Mount Saint Helens

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Mount St. Helens has always fascinated people. Everyone knows about the May 18th, 1980 eruption that devastated parts of Washington State. This is not the only time that this famous volcano has erupted. The oldest historic eruption was dated back in 1831 with the earliest eruption known to have happened in 10,000 BC. Many have been fascinated with this particular mountain for years. Want to know more about Mount St. Helens, here are some amazing facts.

Mount St. Helens a day before the eruptionMount St. Helens, a day before the eruption, May 17th, 1980. Photo by Harry Glicken, USGS/CVO.

Most erupted volcano in Cascades

In a space of over 4,000 years, Mount St. Helens is the most erupted volcano in the Cascades Mountain Range. While there are other volcanoes in this mountain range, Mount St. Helens is the one that has erupted the most times of all the volcanoes that are in this particular range.

Quick facts

Mount St. Helens is 8,365 ft (2,550 m) above the sea level and was named after a British diplomat, Lord St Helens. When Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980, 57 people were killed; 47 bridges, 250 homes, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale was registered. The original height of Mount St. Helens was 9,677 ft (2,950 m) and it lost most it after the eruption.

Names given by Native American

The Native Americans that lived in the area had many different names for the smoke that came out of the volcano. Some of the names include Low-We-Not-Thlat, Louwala-Clough, Loo-wit Lat-kla, Loowit and Low-We Lat-Klah. This name in essence meant “Smoking Mountain”.

Mount St. Helens a day after the eruptionMount St. Helens a day after the eruption, May 19th, 1980. Photo by Lyn Topinka, USGS/CVO.

Most economically destructive event in US History

With the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18th, 1980 this eruption became the most destructive and economically devastating event involving volcanoes in the history of the United States. Losses for Washington State have been estimated to be over $860 million dollars. The largest loss was for the timber, which was at $450 million dollars with the agricultural losses close to $100 million.

Recovery of Mount St. Helens

As of this writing, Mount St. Helens has recovered and the landscape that was devastates has now turned into a habitat that is both rich and diverse. This new habitat supports many different plants and animals.