World of Change: Devastation and Recovery at Mount St. Helens

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This video shows the devastation following the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, the changes in terrain and the recovery that followed.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA except:
·       Aerial photo of Mt. Erebus: Jeanie Mackinder
·       Ground-based photo of Mt. Erebus: Dr. Eric Christian / NASA
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Ground-based photos of Eyjafjallajökull: David Karnå
·       Eyjafjallajökull video footage: Ágúst Guðbjörnsson /
·       EO-1 satellite illustration: ATK
·       Fimmvörðuháls fissure photo: Henrik Thorburn
·       Simulation of ash spreading over Europe: Nina Kristiansen, Sabine Eckhardt, NILU
·       Eyjafjallajökull panorama: Henrik Thorburn
·       Mount St. Helens aerial photo: USGS
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Tracy Vogel
Designed by Marc Lussier

Text, World of Change. The Earth spins in space surrounded by stars that twinkle. Text, Devastation and Recovery at Mount St. Helens.
An enormous column of smoke erupts high into the atmosphere above the clouds from the summit of a volcano. Text, Mount St. Helens, Washington State. On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, blasting volcanic debris across 230 square miles. NASA satellites witnessed the eruption's aftermath and the recovery that has taken place in the years since.
Satellite false-color imagery of Mount St. Helens in 1979 displays a snow-capped summit. Spirit Lake is indicated nearby. Text, This image shows Mount St. Helens before the eruption. Early images like this are in false color, and vegetation appears red. Later images present natural color views.
Watch as vegetation slowly reclaims the land after the eruption, replacing the gray-colored ash and debris around the volcano.
In 1980 a large portion of the terrain is covered in ash, including the lake. Ash remains through the '80s.
The lake changes dramatically in shape as the terrain is reformed into the '90s.
By 1995 vegetation starts to creep back.