The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

On May 18th, 1980 around 8:32 a.m., an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shook the southern part of Washington state. This earthquake triggered the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, an active volcano located about 90 miles south of Seattle, Washington. There had been a number of earthquakes and bulging on the mountain leading up to the eruption. During this eruption, over 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway was destroyed making it the most economically destructive volcano. But the loses from this eruption were not only material things. 57 people were killed in the explosion of Mt. St. Helens. The eruption was also the most well-covered eruption of any volcano at the time. There were not only pictures of the volcano eruption, but also videos, radio reports, and live feeds. Among the people killed was Reid Blackburn, a photojournalist for a local paper, the Vancouver, Washington – Colombian. At this point Blackburn was the first photojournalists recorded to have ever been killed at a volcanic eruption.


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