"The Many Faces of Mt. Saint Helens" is a home- made site built by a woman who's family has deep roots around the Washington State volcano. The first thing you should see is the before and after. Yes, this is the same mountain, in early 1980, then after April that year.
A little more detail. Picture postcard tourist attraction, deserving of a poem. But scroll down for the start of the trouble. The scientists noticed the rumblings and started watching closely. Literally, before their eyes, the volcano started changing. This photo shows the first minor eruption. That's supposed to be a snow capped cone, but the dark area is actually ash, and the small eruption blew a 250- foot hole in the cone. The next picture shows a bigger eruption a few days later. That 250- foot hole is now 1,500 feet. The plume of smoke and ash thousands of feet in the air. The next shot, look closely. The bulge right above the red umbrella? That's where the magma was building up. So quickly, that bulge grew at five- feet a day. So they sealed off the area.
Here's why. Mount Saint Helens blew. Scroll down to the before and after again. Postcard view from five miles away, total devastation for miles around. Total. Look closely at the top picture, that's old growth forest. In the bottom picture, it's gone. Two- hundred- thirty- square miles of forest, flattened in seconds, literally. Note the height here as well. Mount Saint Helens was the 9th tallest mountain in Washington State that morning. Before lunch it was only the 30th. Probably the biggest landslide in the eons man's walked the earth. It moved faster than 600 miles an hour, and caught dozens of people by surprise. This car belonged to a photographer parked seven miles away. That's where he died. The mailboxes, 35 miles from the mountain. A little perspective here. If Mount Saint Helens was at I- 95 and I-16, those mailboxes could be anywhere from Ridgeland to Riceboro, Hilton Head to almost Hagan.