Protected Places: Mount Saint Helens National Monument

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In May of 1980 lava exploded from the side of Mount St Helens blowing the top off this mountain. Before the 1980 eruption Mount St Helens rose 9,677 ft above sea level. The blast reduced the mountain to 8,366 ft, a loss of over 1,300 ft. I was living in Indiana during the eruption, far way in safety but I remember pinkish skies and a lot of cloudiness.

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Twenty-five years later I visited the park. While she didn’t erupt she occasionally let off steam demonstrating volcanic activity is still present. I didn’t see much wild life but I must say, these are the friendliest chipmunks ever. They climb all over you hoping you’ll feed them.

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Mount Saint Helens is a stratovolcano which is the most explosive type of volcano. This is common in the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier (pictured below), another stratovolcano, is clearly visible from overlooks at the national monument.

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Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument was established on August 27, 1982 by then President Ronald Reagan. The monument is located nearly 100 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington within Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

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