It’s been 35 years since the most catastrophic volcanic event in US history occurred in the Cascade mountain range of the Pacific Northwest. This single event was responsible for 57 deaths and millions of dollars in damages; however, it was also responsible for a renewed interest in volcanology. Thanks to modern technology and a renewed sense of insignificance against Mother Nature, new monitoring techniques have lead to the development of seismic early warning systems and other life-saving devices.
Until recently, the only “video” we had of the Mount St Helens eruption was a series of stills stitched together by USGS scientists. In 2014, NOAA’s Dan Lindsey managed to find some satellite video taken during the eruption and put together a couple of animated gif files showing the extent of the blast. One in visible light that shows the initial blast in fantastic detail and one in infrared that shows the extent of the ash plume as it blankets western Washington, Idaho, and Montana.