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On May 18th, 1980, Mount St. Helens, Herman Wouk obituary

I just heard that novelist Herman Wouk passed away on May17th, at age 103. His novels–some still in print–will certainly outlive him.  From his obituary:  “In 1951, Wouk released his most celebrated novel, The Caine Mutiny. It sold slowly at first but eventually topped best-seller lists and won a Pulitzer. ”

On May 18th, 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted, causing a massive avalanche and killing 57 people. Ash from the volcanic eruption fell as far away as Minnesota.

Seismic activity at Mount St. Helens, which is 96 miles south of Seattle, began on March 16. A 4.2-magnitude tremor was recorded four days later and then, on March 23-24, there were 174 different recorded tremors. The first eruption occurred on March 27, when a 250-foot wide vent opened up on top of the mountain. Ash was blasted 10,000 feet in the air, some of which came down nearly 300 miles away in Spokane. The ash caused static electricity and lightning bolts.

Throughout April, scientists watched a bulge on the north side of Mount St. Helens grow larger and larger. Finally, on May 18 at 8:32 a.m., a sudden 5.1-magnitude earthquake and eruption rocked the mountain. The north side of the peak rippled and blasted out ash at 650 miles per hour. A cloud of ash, rocks, gas and glacial ice roared down the side of the mountain at 100 mph. Fourteen miles of the Toutle River were buried up to 150 feet deep in the debris. Magma, at 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, flowed for miles. The 24-megaton blast demolished a 230-square-mile area around the mountain.

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May 18th, 1825 was the birthday of Daniel B. Wesson (of Smith & Wesson fame.)

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