Mount St. Helens Erupting

Alarm as Mount St Helens erupts steam (AFP)

A huge plume of steam and ash erupted from Mount St. Helens, the volcano that devastated swathes of the US northwest when it erupted 24 years ago, witnesses and geologists said. “The mountain began erupting some steam (around 12:15am (1915 GMT),” said Mount St. Helens park ranger Greg Pohl after a colleague first spotted the plume. “At the moment it looks like a very small event and there is an ash pall that appears to be very small that seems to be heading in a westerly direction.” Seismologists at the US Geological Survey have been warning of a possible imminent eruption following more than a week of growing earthquake activity in the area. But, they stressed, any explosion of the peak would not be as serious as the deadly 1980 explosion that killed 57 people and covered large swathes of the northwestern United States in ash.

Apparently, some people are morons:

Tourists flock to Mount St. Helens

Camcorder in hand, Sheri Ray stood on Johnston Ridge — named for a man who died in the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 — and waited impatiently for the volcano to blow again. “I thought I was going to feel earthquakes,” she said, frowning. “I’m mad.”

Even as scientists warn that Mount St. Helens may be about to blow, tourists are flocking to the peak, drawn by the intensifying rumblings from the nation’s most cantankerous mountain, but reassured by predictions that any eruption would be far smaller than the one that killed 57 people more than two decades ago.

Ray, 28, a bartender from Vancouver, Washington, and her husband, Dustin, called in sick to spend the day hoping for an eruption — just not a big one. “If it’s anything like it was last time, I don’t want to be here,” Dustin Ray said. “It makes you wonder how safe it is to be here.”

Yeeha. Natural selection at work.

Rusty Shackleford has been following this one for a couple days and has a roundup of the events.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    Hmm. Washington’s poll numbers haven’t moved. Then, suddenly, on the heels of the debating season, it decides to blow for the first time in 20 years and distracts people from the debates.

    I’m very suspicious. Karl Rove just has to be behind this somewhere. Or Bob Novak. Or Vince Foster’s murderer. Or DB Cooper. The American people DEMAND TO KNOW THE… oh, excuse me, Survivor’s on.