Picture stories

Mount St. Helens: Then & Now

For the 30th anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ eruption, Spokesman-Review photographer Christopher Anderson re-creates some of the images he captured May 18, 1980.

Related story: A look at Mount St. Helens 35 years after eruption


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Approaching Mount St. Helens from the southwest on May 18, 1980, gave you a sense of the size and scope of the eruption.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Mount St. Helens rises above lush evergreen forests that have sprung to life in the 30 years since the eruption. At rear is Mount Rainier.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Mount St. Helens erupts, blanketing the region with ash and debris.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Today snow, not ash, covers Mount St. Helens, and signs of regrowth appear on the surrounding land.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Chuck Nole is framed in a helicopter windshield as the plume spreads during a search and rescue mission in May 1980.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

An aerial view of present-day Mount St. Helens shows ground fog covering Spirit Lake, at right.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Shattered timber and a deep layer of ash and mud cover the landscape one year after the eruption.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Thirty years of weather has bleached the remains of 200 square miles of old-growth timber blown down by the eruption.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

The eruption unleashed a wave of gas and energy, destroying an estimated 200 square miles of forestland.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Today, some old growth still stands, while some of the blown-down timber has been harvested.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Mud and debris choke the Toutle River Basin into a mass of mud holes and erosion streams in this 1981 photo.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Mud and debris from the eruption choked everything in its path. Today, erosion still cuts through the debris.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

The roadway at upper left was swallowed by mud and debris in the Toutle River.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

In May 2010, the mud and debris that destroyed the Toutle River drainage retain a firm grip on dead trees.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

The land downstream and downhill from the crater of the mountain shows the widespread devastation a year after the eruption.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Thirty years later, small ponds populated by frogs and tadpoles have formed in the debris plain.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

There are no signs of life a year after the eruption among pumice and debris, which was thrown miles from the crater.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

In May 2010, U.S. Forest Service ecologist Charlie Crisafulli hikes the hummocks that were formed when the mountain blew.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

A year after the eruption, runoff water cuts channels in the mud, estimated to be hundreds of feet deep in places.


Christopher Anderson - The Spokesman-Review

Today, small animals have returned to the area, along with beavers, amphibians and birds that nest in the blown-down forest.

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