PROF. STEWART LOWTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROF. STEWART LOWTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plinian column of ash, gas and pulverised rock shooting out of Mt. St. Helens volcano, Washington State, USA, during the second eruption of 22nd July 1980. Mt. St Helens forms part of the Cascade Range, an almost unbroken chain of geologically young volcanoes, running from southern British Columbia, Canada, to northern California, USA. The range has built up as a result of plate tectonics; the submergence of the Pacific Ocean plate under the North American continent. The initial eruption occurred on 18th May 1980 with an horizontal blast, followed by a vertical explosion, which surged upward for 12 miles into the atmosphere.
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