Reflection of Mount St. Helens / from 9,677ft. to 8,365ft. in seconds

Had a great, rather full weekend. It started with another Mosque visit on Friday night where my friend and I spoke with the Imam, who was from Egypt, through an interpreter. The conversation went slower than the visit to the other Mosque several weeks ago but that seemed to give us all a more time to carefully phrase our comments and questions. It was interesting. The tone was a little more somber than my last Mosque visit. Sounds like the variety of churches I visit in my work. Some houses of worship and prayer are more “charismatic” while others lean toward quiet reflection and carefully scripted liturgy. I like both actually, for different reasons.

My weekend of activities continued with giving a plenary talk at my home church, Quest Community Church on Saturday. They hosted a special “Global Presence” event that brought together speakers from different types of “serving organizations” helping poor and marginalized communities around the world. I also gave two breakout sessions on what I am doing. Then, after a quick power nap and some packing, I got back in the car and headed south to Beaverton, Oregon where I preached in a church on Sunday morning, again about my work and bridge building efforts with focus people. I met a lot of fascinating people over the entire weekend who are seeking to live their lives for God’s glory AND help others.

On the way back home from Oregon, I had to pull up to this mountain pictured above that has caught my gaze and attention since childhood. Many know the story of Mount St. Helens from its devastating eruption in 1980. Here is a volcano cam of it’s current condition. I have climbed this mountain 4 times actually, twice before the eruption and 2xs after. It is much smaller than her bigger brother to the north, Mt. Rainier, but is still formidable! My two boys almost pitched into the crater of this growing beast when we climbed it back in 2006 from the back side. They got a little too close to the crater’s edge and started to slide down the back side to avoid falling in the deep hole which dropped probably a 1000 feet down to the growing dome inside the crater. This is the stuff of nightmares for me. Glad to say we all made it back down in one piece but we still like to climb mountains. You’d think these kinds of experiences would cure us. Somehow it doesn’t. Anyway to appreciate the dimensions of this mountain and the magnitude and power of the eruption in 1980 I’ve posted a longer description just below.

Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 96 miles (154 km) south of Seattle and 53 miles (85 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon. The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is 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.

Mount St. Helens is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, at 8:32am PDT which was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 feet (2,950 m) to 8,365 feet (2,550 m) and replacing it with a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km3) in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically studied.

As with most other volcanoes in the Cascade Range, Mount St. Helens is a large eruptive cone consisting of lava rock interlayered with ash, pumice, and other deposits. The mountain includes layers of basalt and andesite through which several domes of dacite lava have erupted. The largest of the dacite domes formed the previous summit, and off its northern flank sat the smaller Goat Rocks dome. Both were destroyed in the 1980 eruption.

Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Nearly 230 square miles (600 km2) of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments.

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