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An Example of Sudden Climate Change
(It wasn't the humans)
Forty three years ago, Mount Saint Helens violently erupted, sending ash plumes up to 15 MILES into the air and a moving river of 800-degree pumice, earth, and mud down into the valley below the mountain.
The sheer amount of force involved in this event is extremely hard to comprehend. Take a look at some of this video from the eruption.
I was too young to really remember the actual eruption, though trinkets filled with Mount Saint Helens ash litter my childhood memories. (A quick internet search turns up plenty of these items still today.) Therefore, my memories of Mount Saint Helens involve being on the mountain itself.
I don’t remember exactly when I first visited, I think it was some sort of school field trip. I DO remember what seemed like endless fields of giant trees strewn about like they were toothpicks:
It’s difficult to fathom something with that much force. Actually being on the grounds is extremely humbling, because even your little monkey brain understands that your meatsuit doesn’t stand a chance against the full force of Mother Nature.
As time passes, to me the story of Mount Saint Helens changes. Of course, the bomb-like devastation from 1980’s massive eruption is still the backdrop of the story — the path of the destruction is literally carved into the mountainside. But every time I visit (about every 5 years or so), I’m amazed by how much more ALIVE everything looks. Slowly but surely, nature is reclaiming its land. Check out these photos taken by my awesome friend Carrie during my last trip:
It’s easy to imagine a time (long after I’m gone) that the impact of the eruption is hidden under a thriving green landscape. It’s taken decades, but this once-unimaginable state of affairs is starting to look inevitable.
This gives me hope that one day our society can heal itself the way that Mount Saint Helens is starting to do.
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Edit: There’s some amazing slideshow-type before/after pictures here: