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Mount St. Helens Eruption 40th Anniversary Partner Programs

The exhibition Volcano! Mount St. Helens in Art, marks the 40th anniversary of the 1980 eruption and examines artists’ responses to the awesome beauty and power of the volcano. While the physical exhibition remains closed and planned programs and events canceled, we are pleased to share a sampling of programs from organizations around the region commemorating the anniversary.


Mount St. Helens Goes Boom! 
With Bill Nye the Volcano Guy

May 16, 6 p.m.

Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI)

To mark the 40th “Eruptiversary” of the volcano, join us for 45 minutes of explosive fun with Bill Nye the Volcano Guy in conversation with Mount St. Helens Institute and KING5.

Visit www.mshinstitute.org/about_us/events/bill-nye-live-2020/  for more information on how to join this virtual event.


A flat black and white painting of Mount St. Helens with a stark light gray gradient sky.

Mount St. Helens:
A Landscape Across Time

May 17, 3:30 p.m.

Portland Art Museum
Live Stream Event

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the 1980 eruption, come together with the Portland Art Museum and Mount St. Helens Institute for a series of reflections on the art, culture, and science of the mountain’s ever-changing landscapes. Using the exhibition Volcano! Mount St. Helens in Art as an entry point, Dawson Carr, The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art, and self-described volcano nerd, will introduce the show and then welcome a range of special guests who consider specific works in the exhibition in relation to their own connections to the mountain.  

Special guests include Barbara Noah (Seattle Artist), Sonja Melander (Science Education Manager, Mount St. Helens Institute), Nathan Reynolds (Ecologist and Interim Director of Cultural Resources, Cowlitz Indian Tribe), and Ray Yurkewycz (Director, Mount St. Helens Institute).

Watch live at pam.to/VolcanoLive or on our Facebook page.
Captions available at pam.to/captions.

Image caption: Cameron Martin [Seattle native – now lives NY], American, born 1970, Remission, 2006, Acrylic on canvas, Saint Louis Art Museum, The Henry L. and Natalie Edison Freund Charitable Trust


U.S. Geological Survey:
Daily Posts

May 18–31

USGS Volcanoes social media (Facebook and Twitter) are posting daily about what was happening at Mount St. Helens 40 years ago. See time-lapse videos, photos, and newspaper accounts of what scientists knew about the volcano and how the community was reacting. 

On May 18, 21 posts will keep you updated about what was unfolding in real-time during the May 18, 1980 eruption. Aftermath posts continue daily through May 31. Follow these posts on  twitter.com/USGSVolcanoes and facebook.com/USGSVolcanoes/


Ask a Ranger

May 18, 2 p.m.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest—U.S. Forest Service

A USFS Ranger will give a short talk about May 18, 1980 and its legacy followed by a Q&A session. Get those questions ready!

Visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Facebook page for more information on this live event.


Mount St. Helens Virtual Story Hour

May 18, 6 p.m.

Washington State Parks

An inspirational evening event as we bring Mount St. Helens to your homes for a special 40th Eruption Anniversary program, with stories shared by folks who remember the pre-eruption days, an Interpretive-Ranger led eruption talk, artist presentation, and follow-along volcano craft. 

Visit the Washington State Parks Facebook page for more information on this live event.


Mount St. Helens Rocked Our World! What We’ve Learned Since 1980

May 18, 6:30 p.m.

OMSI: Virtual Science Pub

With Heather Wright, Ph.D., Volcanologist with the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

As a research geologist, Heather Wright spends a lot of time traversing the flanks of volcanoes around the globe, studying ash and pumice deposits to reconstruct eruptive histories and to provide clues about the inner workings of active volcanoes. Her research focuses on understanding what controls the style of eruption produced during volcanic crises and how to forecast activity prior to an eruption. Mount St. Helens is one of her favorite volcanoes, with its numerous explosive eruptions, outpourings of lava, and dome-building phases that have both constructed and destroyed its snow-clad edifice over a 270,000-year history. Of particular interest are the multiple eruptions in 1980 and the conditions under which magma is currently stored beneath the volcano.

Heather works for the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) in Vancouver, Washington, a cooperative partnership between the USGS and USAID’s Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance. Her job involves many functions, including conducting international training courses, participating in volcanic crisis response efforts, and performing fundamental scientific research on volcanic processes.


Mount Saint Helens & the Cascade Range Volcanoes

May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) & WWU, USGS, UO

This program features four Northwest scientists who will present a review of Cascadia Region tectonics, volcanoes, volcanic hazards, and a summary of how science and monitoring has evolved over the last 40 years. It will also include first-person accounts of the buildup to the May 18, 1980, eruption as experienced by University of Washington seismologist Steve Malone. Hosted by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, University of Washington, Harold Tobin, Director.


We’re volcano experts.
Ask us anything on Reddit!

U.S. Geological Survey, Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS)

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helens, scientists and volcano experts, primarily based in the Pacific Northwest, took questions using the online platform Reddit.  Speakers came from the Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS) in Vancouver, Wash., and Washington Emergency Management Division at Camp Murray, Wash.

Some of the speakers included Wes Thelen, an expert on earthquakes and Kilauea; Mike Poland, Scientist-in-Charge at Yellowstone and an expert on Kilauea and Krakatoa; volcanologist Alexa Van Eaton; and Brian Terbush, the volcano program coordinator for Washington State Emergency Management Division.