November 22, 1842 — Mount St Helens in Washington state erupted today. The active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is 96 miles south of Seattle, Washington, and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon.
It takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century.
As part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes, this volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.
And so it flowed today in 1842. It is part of a 57-year eruptive period that scientists believe began in 1800. Called the Goat Rocks period, this is the first time that both oral and written records exist.
While Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980 — when 52 people were killed, and 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed — there were at least a dozen reported small eruptions of ash from 1831 to 1857.
In fact, Goat Rocks dome was the site of the bulge in the 1980 eruption, which also destroyed the entire north face and top 1,300 feet of the mountain.
Words of Wisdom
A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.