Untouched photo

Untouched photo

A serious subject: untouched photo of Mount St. Helens devastation area, near the NFD 94 Road approximately 5 miles east of Spirit Lake. This was coming in from Randle, WA - the road goes south over Elk Pass. Taken on Sept. 19, 1984, just two years after the area was proclaimed & made into a National Volcanic Monument. The initial ERUPTION was in May 1980, a laterial BLAST that devastated several thousand acres of land on the northeast side of Mount St. Helens. I had received permission from Gifford Pinchot forestry officials to view this particular area, located in the Clearwater Drainage. As you can see, the vegataton was completely burned, leveled and destroyed by the searing heat of a sudden volcanic blast and shock wave. I am in the picture for scale. As you can see on the ground to the right, some timber was completely melted; then fused back together again! Does anybody have a more recent photo of this area??? I would love to see it! Photo was taken by the late Anna Lancaster. This is what Mt. St. Helens looked like on that day.
on Nov 19, 2007 2:54 pm
Image Type(s): Informational
Image ID: 358178


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Viewing: 1-15 of 15
Bill Reed

Bill Reed - Nov 19, 2007 3:45 pm - Voted 10/10


Not a good place to have been when she blew.


lcarreau - Nov 19, 2007 4:10 pm - Hasn't voted

There were a few

who scoffed ... but Mt. St. Helens has a sinister side. Thanks for the comment, Bill.
Just a few humble photos - found this one at the bottom of the stack. Take care!

Dennis Poulin

Dennis Poulin - Nov 19, 2007 7:15 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice haircut

It would be good to see "after" and "now" comparison pic's of all this area. I haven't been in the National Monument in about 10 years, maybe it is time for a visit.

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Nov 19, 2007 8:11 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Nice haircut

Here's an "after" shot from north of there a ways. This is from the summit ridge of the Goat Mountain just north of Mt. Margaret, which in turn is just north of Spirit Lake. This ridge marks the end of the devastation area as north of it is mostly unscathed. And you can see that some of the larger trees were left standing, though dead. Not much has changed in the background, but this far away from the blast there were sheltered areas where greenery apparently remained.


lcarreau - Nov 19, 2007 8:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Hey ... Bob ?

Great photo! I misplaced my Mt. St. Helens NVM
map, showing the "boundary" of the May 1980 blast zone. Are we looking at Quartz Creek Canyon,
with the Cispus River in the background???

I'm kinda like Dennis, I haven't been to Skamania County in years. Please tell me ...
is Randle still there. It was just surviving
on a wing and a prayer, back in 1984. Thanks!
This is the best I can do | : ) !!!

I bet the Cispus and Cowlitz Rivers found themselves suddenly SWOLLEN, back in May 1980!!!

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Nov 19, 2007 9:22 pm - Voted 10/10

When you say....

fused and then put back together again, how can you tell? I'm looking at the photo on the right and don't know what to look for.


lcarreau - Nov 19, 2007 9:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: When you say....

Hey Brian, what's up? It's ON THE GROUND , BETWEEN ME AND THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PHOTO. Do you see the LARGE "burned - out" log, and then the second & the third, off to the RIGHT in the photo? If you "right click,"
you can see the SHAPE of the timber, just like
melted plastic. It was all in one piece.(Its next to a patch of Fireweed.) BTW,
the photo is 23 years old. Do you have any more "UP-TO-DATE" photos of this area? THANKS for your interest & comment.

What makes it difficult to see is ALL the dried mud and volcanic ash mixed in with the downed & dead timber. The "ash layer" was amazing, and this was taken more than 4 years after the initial eruption.

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Nov 20, 2007 12:08 pm - Voted 10/10

An incredible

force, good that it was an area with so few inhabitants.


lcarreau - Nov 20, 2007 1:35 pm - Hasn't voted

In my opinion,

this is Mother Nature's most sinister side.
Actually, this is what happens when you have a
volcano of this magnitude, that suddenly comes awake. According to local newspapers of the time:"On the mountain, a pyroclastic flow composed of rock fragments and volcanic gases as hot as 800-degrees (C) SPED downslope at perhaps 200 miles per hour, overtaking the avalanche debris. The laterial BLAST accelerated to an estimated 670 miles per hour as it SWEPT across the forested land to affect an area of some 230 SQUARE MILES, blowing down TREES up to 19 miles from the mountain. Incredible is a very good word! THANKS for your interest and comments,

Mark Straub

Mark Straub - Jan 10, 2008 8:55 am - Voted 10/10

Very cool photo!

I do have some pictures of this area now in my Mt. St. Helens Area album. Based only off of this picture, I would have guessed that the destruction would be absolute, and the area would not start to regrow for at least 50 years. However, nature can surprise me at times!


lcarreau - Jan 10, 2008 10:24 am - Hasn't voted

Mark ?

Your photos of the Mt. St. Helens "blast
zone" are great! My picture was taken close
to Spirit Lake in 1984, when I was living in Washington. Bob's picture was
taken further north, closer to Randle. I
believe those trees & vegatation survived
because of the topography and direction of
the blast. Yes, Nature can be surprising!!!

Mark Straub

Mark Straub - Jan 10, 2008 6:10 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Mark ?

Thank you! Is it okay if I attach this photo to my album? This is one of my favorite pictures of this area, and provides an excellent view into the past. It is amazing to me the immense power nature has, both to destroy and rebuild.


lcarreau - Jan 10, 2008 7:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Mark ?

No problem - consider it done!


oldandslow - Sep 5, 2010 7:24 pm - Hasn't voted


In some areas covered with snow on slopes facing away from the mountain, the destruction was not absolute. I have posted a couple of pictures from the Norway Pass--Meta Lake area.


lcarreau - Sep 5, 2010 9:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Destruction

Thanks - the Pacific NW is a GREAT place to live!

I was born in Tacoma 53 years ago, and somehow
ended up in the blazing inferno of Arizona.

Not complaining, however.

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