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    Description

    As a young geologist in 1980, I felt a powerful attraction to volcanoes, and I thought I knew volcanoes rather well. I had studied volcanology. I had climbed volcanic peaks in the Cascades. And I had tried to be an attentive citizen of my volcanic region, the Pacific Northwest. But when I had a chance to go with other scientists to Mount St. Helens within days of its May 18th, 1980, eruption, that all changed. I stepped out of a helicopter into the dust and mist of the blasted landscape, and I could barely comprehend where I was. Everything was gray in the normally green Pacific Northwest landscape. Muddy geysers erupted on the newly formed Pumice Plain below, and the volcano responsible for this chaos was hidden in clouds. The helicopter radio passed on messages of continuing harmonic tremor, signaling possible further eruptive activity. My preconceptions of how volcanic landscapes behave in the aftermath of an eruption were blown away like the top of St. Helens, and I've been reconstructing my understanding ever since.

    Publication Notes

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    Citation

    Swanson, Frederick J. 2008. Languages of volcanic landscapes. In: Goodrich, C.; Dean, K.; Swanson, F.J., eds. In the blast zone: catastrophe and renewal on Mount St. Helens. 105-111

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