Next Installment of “Prelude to a Catastrophe” Up on Rosetta Stones

Before 1980, Mount St. Helens had a very distinguished career as an explosive volcano. Dwight R. Crandell of the USGS spent quite a number of years tracing her history. He called her “one of the most active and most explosive volcanoes in the Cascade Range.” He hadn’t even had time to get the ink down on his paper, much less let it dry, before Mount St. Helens hinted she was about to prove him right…

Mount St. Helens' sunset before 1980. The peak's symmetric cone earned it the title of the "Fuji of North America." USFS photo courtesy of Jim Hughes.

As always, feel free to leave comments here. I know SciAm’s commenting system is a pain in the arse. Also, please do raise a drink to Dr. “Rocky” Crandell – he did a hell of a lot of work on the fire mountains round here, and he saved a lot of lives. Jane, your dad was a man I wish I’d had the honor of meeting.


  1. chezjake says

    A well written post, as always. Your choice of the perspective from above was inspired.

  2. says

    This Mt. St. Helen’s story is getting interesting.
    Great, interesting approach and nice writing; you’e got a new fan here =)

    Hope to see many, many more works from you…