Happy Mt. St. Helens Day!

For denizens of the Great Northwest, May 18th is an important day, being the day on which the bowels of hell were unleashed on those modern day Sodom and Gomorrahs, Seattle and Portland (or Seattle and Spokane, or Portland and Spokane, or Kennewick and Longview, or … take your pick). Anyway, as Wikipedia has it:

Mount St. Helens is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, which was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (300 km) of highway were destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 feet (2,950 m) to 8,365 feet (2,550 m) and replacing it with a mile-wide (1.5 km-wide) horseshoe-shaped crater.[2] The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km³) in volume.

Walker Percy even thought if worthy of a reference somewhere – I’m sure Rufus can locate it for us. My memory of the date: it was a beautiful day, and I was on a bus coming home from school, going across the Evergreen Point Bridge on Lake Washington when I saw the famous plume rising up in the South. I later learned that my friends lost their cabin on Spirit Lake. I was given a small bottle of ash, which is now collecting dust somewhere in storage.


  1. Rufus McCain says

    It is mentioned twice in Thanatos Syndrome, pp. 23 and 173, both times as part of the description of the cooling tower of the Grand Mer nuclear plant. (Use the “Search Inside” feature at Amazon and search on helens.)

Speak Your Mind