The Power Within

This year is the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St Helens. I feel like it is one of my earliest memories, but I was only 4 years old at the time and in Australia. More likely I’m just remembering the grainy images of the eruption seen at school and in textbooks This event permanently shaped the landscape but also shaped me as a person. I went on to study geology and landforms and focused my life on sharing my passion for the natural world.

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60 seconds of the Mount St Helens eruption © Gary Rosenquist 1980

Mount St. Helens

40 years ago Mount St. Helens famously erupted, creating a 25 km high ash and gas cloud that flattening 350 square kms of forest. The eruption killed 57 people in the Americas deadliest eruption.

Mount St Helens is still considered one of the most dangerous in the United States, and the most active of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest.

Mount St Helens is in the Cascades mountain range and are part of the Ring of Fire. The volcanoes are the result of the dense oceanic crust of the Pacific plate sliding beneath North America.

The Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire occurs where the Pacific Plate meets many surrounding tectonic plates and is the most seismically and volcanically active zone in the world. The Ring of Fire is made up of a series of oceanic trenches and volcanic arcs caused by plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes, more than 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes.


I have spent the last 20 years teaching children and adults about plate tectonics and the power within the earth. 40 years on and Mount St Helens is still an awesome example of the dynamic earth we live on.

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