Altitude 2549m a.s.l
Prior to May 18, 1980, 9,677 ft. Mount St. Helens was Washington's fifth-highest peak. Towering above Spirit Lake, this beautiful volcanic cone rose over 5,000 feet above its base. Known to Native Americans as "Louwala-Clough", which means "smoking mountain". St. Helens was also nicknamed "Fuji-san of America" for it's resemblence to Japan's famous Mt. Fuji.
Formed within the last 40,000 years, Mount St. Helens is geologically young compared to the other major volcanoes of the Cascade Range and is considered the most active volcano in the range for the past 10,000 years or so.
The May 18, 1980 eruption released 24 megatons of thermal energy, and ejected over 0.67 cubic miles of material. The mountain was reduced in heigth by approx. 1,300 feet, leaving a one to two mile wide crater, 0.5 miles deep with it's north side open. 57 people died, nearly 7,000 big game animals and an estimated 12 million fish, from a hatchery also died in the eruption. 200 homes were destroyed or severly damaged. 185 miles of highway and 15 miles of roadways were also destroyed.
Mount St. Helens was quite popular with mountaineers and had many routes on its snowy slopes and glaciers. For seven years after the eruption, recreational climbing was banned on Mt. St. Helens. Then in May 1987 it was reopened. Only the south routes are still allowed. Access to the crater is strictly forbidden.
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