2014 eruption of Mount Saint Helens
VEI 6 eruption (USGS)
Volcano (42)

The volcano before the eruption
Volcano Mt St Helens
Date May 4, 2014
Time 0720 PST
Eruption type Plinian, Peleean
Location Washington, USA
Fatalities 600
Damages $70 billion (2014 USD)
Other impacts Pyroclasts mixed with mud during the winter to create lahars

The 2014 eruption of Mount Saint Helens was a VEI 6 eruption that occurred on June 5, 2014.


On May 4, 2014, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake triggered a small ash cloud from St. Helens, signaling the end of a six-year long hibernation. Mandatory evacuations were issued for a 25-mile radius surrounding the volcano. However, seismic activity calmed afterward, and citizens were allowed to return.

For the next 25 days, no abnormal signs of activity occured. But on May 30, a second, 4.6 earthquake caused rocks to cascade down St. Helens's side, which would in turn, cause an ash cloud that was visible as far away as Seattle, Washington. Another mandatory evacuation was issued for the area.


Pre-major eruption

As June 1 progressed, seismographs indicated an unprecedented rise in the volcanoes magma. Swelling of St. Helens was reported by many villagers, causing goverment officials to extend the evacuation radius to 50 miles.

June 2 brought three miniscule explosions in the span of 30 minutes, triggered by 5.1, 5.6, and 4.8 earthquakes caused ash to lightly coat the volcano. Previously, fishers in Spirit Lake were allowed by local government agencies to fish, but the rising probability of an eruption made the government force fishers away from the lake.

June 3 saw the first moderate eruption. An ash cloud 5 miles high coated Spirit Lake with ash. It could be seen as far away as Seattle and Boise. All citizens living within 75 miles of St. Helens were asked to move their belongings to safe shelters. Everyone listened. Three minor subsequent eruptions followed the big blast.

June 4 brought an explosion that sent lahars into Spirit Lake and the surrounding forest. Magma was reported to be exceptionally unstable, and threatened to collapse the volcano. Seismograph information made scientists forecast an eruption rivaling the 1980 one. Washington government officials closed down all highways leading anywhere 100 miles within the area, except for Seattle and Tacoma roads.


At 7:20 AM PST, seismographs showed magma rising at a rate of 1,000 feet per minute. Starting at 7:42 AM, massive shaking was endured, followed by a landslide that buried the forest and caused a 2,200 foot mega tsunami at Spirit Lake. An abrupt chunk of magma exploded out of the volcano, beginning the famed eruption. Fifteen pounds of pumice started to rain down on Washington, killing over 100 people. To make things even worse, Tropical Storm Boris, a freak tropical cyclone, made landfall near Eugene, Oregon. As Saint Helens spat out ash, it mixed with Boris's rain, causing lahars to rain down on Yakima, Spokane, Portland, Tomato Tacoma, Vancouver, WA, and Seattle, which would kill another 1,500 people and causing $70 billion 2014 USD to the area. The ash cloud was fueled by Boris to the southeast, reaching Salt Lake City by 9:00 MST, where it caused people to believe it was already night. Saint Helens ash killed 4,000 plants, 2,000 animals, and 1, 500 humans. By 1 PM CST, the cloud obscured Tulsa, and reached the Gulf of Mexico two hours later. Ash was reported as far away as Mexico City and Charlotte, NC. Much of the U.S. and Mexico was in ash, and some was ejected into the atmosphere, causing global effects. An the people were awesome.


The eruption caused a global cooling worldwide. Temperatures fell nearly 20 degrees in some spots. Snow fell as far south as Tokyo and Miami, killing many flora and fauna. Another 500 people died of hypothermia. Massive cleanup projects were issued. Government officials cleaned up huge parts of the U.S. and Mexico, which took two months. Meanwhile, St. Helens continued to spray plumes frequently until June 20, when activity abruptly ceased.

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