Snow still covered the peaks of the Cascade Ranges in mid-June when the STS-111
crew photographed Mt. St. Helens from the Space Shuttle Endeavour. From their
vantage point, the crew observed blast zone from the 1980 eruption of the
volcano, the mud-choked North Fork of the Toutle River, and fallen timber that
still floats in rafts of logs on Spirit Lake. Continued imagery of the region
will document the slow regrowth of the forests. Today, the volcano and
surrounding region comprise the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument which
is dedicated to research, education and recreation.
On May 18, 1980, Mount Saint Helens volcano erupted. Because the eruption occurred in an easily accessible region of the U.S., Mount St. Helens has provided unprecedented opportunities for U.S. researchers to collect scientific observations of the geology of an active volcano and document the regional ecological impact and recovery from an eruption.
Nearly three decades after the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens, the impact on the forest in the blast zone is still obvious in this astronaut photograph. South of the mountain, lush green forests cover the landscape, while north of the mountain, vegetation remains sparse.