The Recovery of Mount St. Helens

YouTube // EarthDirect
YouTube // EarthDirect / YouTube // EarthDirect

On Sunday, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. Roughly 150 square miles of the surrounding forest were burned; some scorched trees stood as dead cinders, while others were blown down. Meanwhile, a massive ash plume darkened the sky of Washington, and the ash fell throughout the region, reaching nearby cities and dusting everything. When it was over, the area surrounding the volcano was a gray, burnt-out wasteland. 57 people died that day.

Today, that wasteland is a green forest again. In the video below, timelapse Landsat satellite imagery shows how vegetation returned to the area. Important note: Landsat didn't have a way to show green until 1984, so the first few slides here show vegetation as red. Starting in 1979 (before the eruption), you can see the gray destruction, and the return of the forest as the years pass.