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Mount St. Helens

Many residents of Washington remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on the morning Mount St. Helen’s blew wide-open. The shock wave rattled windows for hundreds of miles around.

Prior to the eruption, scientists monitoring the peak didn’t know when it would go off or how big the blast would be. But all the signs of a live volcano were evident. It was just a matter of time.

Local media issued warnings and faithfully reported St. Helen’s vital signs. But as time elapsed and the big eruption did not occur, people became less wary and more bold. Campers, photographers, and others moved in to get a closer look.

Then on May 18, 1980, the mountain that had been dormant since 1857 spewed ash skyward and killed at least thirty people. They had failed to heed warnings, and they died needlessly.

Christine Dallman, The Quiet Hour, December, 1997, February, 1998, p. 77

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