Q:

How many people died when Mount Saint Helens erupted?

A:

Quick Answer

As a result of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, 57 people died. Earthquakes started on March 15, gradually building into small eruptions and then culminating in the massive eruption of May 18.

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Responding to an accumulation of danger signs and warnings from the United States Geological Survey, Governor Dixy Lee Ray of Washington State declared a state of emergency around the mountain on April 3 and then later banned all unapproved visitors from entering the large red zone created around the volcano under penalty of fine or imprisonment. Despite these preventive measures, when the volcano erupted on May 18, the enormous avalanche and pyroclastic flow caught 57 people unaware. Most were asphyxiated in the flow, while a few were crushed under tons of volcanic debris.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What damage did Mount St. Helens cause?

    A:

    The eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, caused the destruction of 27 bridges, over 200 homes and 4.7 billion boards of timber. In addition, 15 miles of railway and 185 miles of highway were damaged or destroyed. Fifty-seven people also lost their lives during the eruption, and another four deaths occurred as an indirect result of the eruption.

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  • Q:

    What type of lava was produced in the most recent Mount St. Helens eruption?

    A:

    The most recent volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State, which began in October, 2004, produced hot, but solid, extrusions of smooth-sided lava called "spines." The extrusion of the solid lava spines continued until January 2008, producing more than 120 million cubic yards of solidified lava. Unlike the previous and catastrophic eruption, which occurred in 1980 and produced thick lava flows, the eruptions occurring between 2004 and 2008 produced only solid lava extrusions and resulted in no loss of life or property.

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  • Q:

    When did Mount Saint Helens erupt?

    A:

    Mount St. Helens' most significant eruption in modern times occurred on March 20, 1980. It was followed by additional eruptions between Dec. 7, 1989 to Jan. 6, 1990, Nov. 5, 1990 to Feb. 14, 1991, Oct.11, 2004, Mar. 8, 2005, and between Jan. 16, 2008 to July 10, 2008.

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  • Q:

    What events happened in the 1980s?

    A:

    Many events happened in the 1980s, including the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the assassination attempt of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 and the fall of the Berlin Wall 1989. The 1980s is the defined as the decade that started on January 1, 1980 and ended on December 31, 1989.

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