Speaking of Mt. St. Helens erupting, the most interesting thing about Gay’s dad and aunts’ visit was when they told of their Mt. St. Helens experience in 1980. I didn’t live on the west coast in 1980, but I remember hearing about it in 6th grade. I even have a jar of ash from it that my San Francisco aunt collected from her yard. Gay’s family live in Spokane, the other side of Washington State, but they told of how the sky went black in the early afternoon and they went out on a lake with their boat anyway. The ash came down and ruined the boat’s engine. Watching the Discovery Channel show last night on the eruption, it must’ve been a terrifying event. Something nobody on the east coast of the US truly understood.
It’s also interesting that they expected an eruption for months – it wasn’t a surprise. 10,000 (small) earthquakes and a couple small eruptions occurrred in the days leading up to the big eruption. USGS was all over the area monitoring it. This bodes well for when Mt. Rainier erupts, we should have plenty of warning (I hope).