Mt St Helens eruption: Declassified images of eruption aftermath REVEALED

On May 18, 1980, the Mt St Helens volcano situated in Washington erupted, leading to 57 deaths and $1.1bn (£843m) worth of property damage after it deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces. The eruption of the 2,550 metre tall volcano was described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as “the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States”.

The majority of the 57 deaths were a result of asphyxiation from the inhaling of hot ash.

Now, Simon Carn, professor of geology at Michigan Tech, has released images showing the aftermath of the eruption.

The first image from Prof Carn is from 1973 and shows Mt St Helens and shows the source of the mountain covered in snow.

However, the second image from June 30, 1980, just a month after the eruption, shows almost the entire image coated in a blanket of ash.

Prof Carn posted the images on Twitter and said: “Declassified Keyhole (KH) satellite system KH-9 (Hexagon) military intelligence photos of #MtStHelens before (Sept 5, 1973) and after (June 30, 1980) the May 18, 1980 #eruption. Images are not perfectly aligned due to uncorrected distortion.”

The 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens remains one of the most deadly in recent US history.

Rich Marriott, a meteorologist for the Forest Service Avalanche Center, and who also worked for the local station KING 5, flew to the volcano shortly after the eruption in 1980.

He detailed how it was unlike anything he had ever seen before, comparing the scenes to “hell”.

Mr Marriot told NGW: “The blast from the Mount St Helens eruption scorched the surrounding landscape for nearly 20 miles.

Rich Marriott, a meteorologist for the Forest Service Avalanche Center, and who also worked for the local station KING 5, flew to the volcano shortly after the eruption in 1980.

He detailed how it was unlike anything he had ever seen before, comparing the scenes to “hell”.

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Mr Marriot told NGW: “The blast from the Mount St Helens eruption scorched the surrounding landscape for nearly 20 miles.

“The direct blast obliterated everything for a distance of eight miles.

“The shock wave toppled trees in the intermediate blast zone, and you could see burned trees that were left standing in the outer seared zone.

“It seemed like we were flying into hell, not somewhere in the Cascades.”

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