Color version of one lone evergreen tree, standing on a hill near Mount St. Helens. Image was shot in late August 2012 from a trail near the Johnston Ridge Observatory, within view of the active volcano. More than 30 years have passed since the cataclysmic eruption that began Sunday, May 18, 1980, at 8:32 a.m.
This tree was the most intact tree I saw in or near what is called the inner blast zone, where nothing on the surface survived. Beyond the inner blast zone is an area called the blowdown zone and, beyond that, the scorch zone. Nearly 150 square miles of forest were blown over or left dead and standing.
Today one sees mainly a few wildflowers and grasses on the rocky terrain where thousands of evergreens, mostly fir and hemlock, once stood. Most of the downed trees were removed and recycled, but the evergreen trunk in this image remains. It helps visitors visualize what took place here in 1980, when everything changed in an instant.
Copyright 2012 Connie Steitz Fox. All Rights Reserved.
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