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Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument General: 19 reviews and 27 photos
The sleeping giant began to awake from its slumber in March 1980, with a series of steam explosions and bursts of ash. Following the initial outbursts, the mountain was monitored closely by seismologists and volcanologists. Small earthquakes and tremors accompanied the outbursts, indicating that fresh lava was being intruded into the mountain's heart. Gigantic cracks apperard at the summit and in the mountain's sides, and the whole of the northern face expanded outward some 450 feet. Many non-scientists looked upon this initial activity as a 'minor' incident, and despite official warnings that the mountail and its surroundings had been designated as a dangerous 'Red Zone', tourists swarmed to the area, evading the overworked Rangers, to get a closer view of the spectacular natural 'fireworks'. Residents and workers in the area were advised to leave, but many refused, claiming that they 'knew the mountain'. Several camps were established by Volcanologists in order to monitor the mountain's activity, some being perilously close to the mountian in order to provide the necessary data.
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