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When ash filled the sky: It's been 40 years since Mount St. Helens erupted

Posted at 8:11 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 15:55:41-04

It was a day the Pacific Northwest remembers well. On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in southwest Washington, sending a massive amount of ash into the sky.

Monday marks the 40th anniversary of that day. Four decades ago, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck underneath the active volcano, causing it to spew ash, mud, and debris across a 150-mile area of land.

Though the eruption was predicted by scientists and evacuations were executed before it, 57 people were killed in the chaos, making it the deadliest volcanic eruption in U.S. history.

Hundreds of homes were also destroyed and roads that once lead up to the mountain were wiped out.

To recognize the landmark anniversary of the eruption, Washington State Parks asked the public for their memories of the fateful day.

The U.S. Geological Survey constantly monitors Mount St. Helens, but there hasn’t been a recorded volcanic event since 2008.

Due to the 1980 eruption, May is recognized as Volcano Preparedness Month, a time that encourages everyone to go over emergency plans and get ready for future eruptions.