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Memories

Where were you logo with Mount St. Helens in background
Summer 2020

“It was raining ash”

The angry-looking ash cloud billowing above Mount St. Helens is one of the most iconic images in state history.

And is etched in our collective memory.

Those living in the state of Washington at the time of the May 18, 1980, eruption all have a where-were-you-when-it-blew moment. Here are some of them.

 

Don Swanson

Volcanologist Don Swanson (’60 Geology) agreed to man the mountain’s forward observation post for a few days to replace a geologist who needed to travel out of town. But Swanson himself needed a replacement for a night—that night.

David A. Johnston, a younger U.S. Geological Survey colleague, agreed to … » More …

Where were you logo with Mount St. Helens in background
Summer 2020

Reader memories of Mount St. Helens

Washington State Magazine asked readers to share their memories of the eruption of Mount St. Helens 40 years ago. Here are their recollections of that fateful day.

 

Long drive home

For whatever reason, we decided that May 18, 1980, was an excellent day to leave campus and go to the motocross races in Clarkia, Idaho. We were watching the races when a large, ominous thunderstorm appeared over the ridge. As we got ready to head for the cars to avoid the rain, it started to snow. Except it wasn’t snow. We hopped into the car and started the long drive back to Pullman. The … » More …