Mount Saint Helens is an active stratovolcano in Skamania County, Washington, and is one of 160 active volcanoes that comprise the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The May 18, 1980 eruption was the most deadly and economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed. 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche during the eruption reduced the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9677 feet (2950 m) to 8364 feet (2550 m), leaving a mile-wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche, of up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.3 km³) in volume, was the largest in recorded history.
As the crow flies, Mount St. Helens is 96 miles (154 km) south of the city of Seattle and 53 miles (85 km) northeast of Portland. The mountain, part of the Cascade Range, takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, who was a friend of George Vancouver, an explorer who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century.
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