DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mount St Helens volcanic crater, Washington State, USA. This crater is 2 kilometres wide and 640 metres deep. It was formed during an enormous volcanic eruption on 18 May 1980, following months of volcanic activity. The bulging northern face of the volcano collapsed and a massive pyroclastic flow erupted northwards, leaving a large gap (upper centre) in the crater wall. The volcano was reduced in height by 400 metres, hundreds of square kilometres of forest were destroyed and 57 people died. A lava dome (centre) has since formed in the crater, as pressure begins to build once more. From 2004, the volcano has become active again. Spirit Lake and the Mount Rainier volcano (white) are seen in the background at upper right.
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