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Mount St. Helens Geology > Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake from Windy Ridge Viewpoint by Gavin Farrell

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Taken by
Gavin Farrell Gavin Farrell
Explore score
1
Size
8.09 Gigapixels
Views
11203
Date added
Apr 19, 2011
Date taken
Apr 19, 2011
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Description

Windy Ridge is one of the best places to get an overview of the area devastated by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The landscape is littered with sand and gray rocks from that event. Deposits of the debris avalanche are visible to the west. These include the lower parts of The Spillover, where the debris avalanche traveled up over Johnston Ridge and into the South Coldwater area. The blast stripped most of the vegetation and some soil from many of the older bedrock surfaces, revealing to geologists and visitors previously hidden chapters in the geologic history of the area. Rockfalls from the crater walls stir up ash clouds that curl over the edges of the crater rim, especially in late summer. A faint bluish-white volcanic gas plume is often visible rising from the Lava Dome, and sometimes fumaroles or clusters of fumaroles can be seen there.

The water level of Spirit Lake is maintained at about 3,406 feet (1,038 meters) by draining water through a gravity-feed tunnel completed in 1985. The 2,500-feet (762 meters) -long tunnel was cut through Harrys Ridge (named form Harry Truman, the Spirit Lake resident who refused to leave his home and was killed by the May 18, 1980, eruption) to South Coldwater Creek. The portal is just visible about midway along the western shore of the lake. Had the lake level not been stabilized, its dam probably would have been breached, possibly causing catastrophic floods in the Toutle River.


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