After the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St Helens, the concentration of dissolved organic material in surface waters near the volcano increased significantly as a result of the destruction of the surrounding conifer forest. Low molecular weight organic compounds identified in the blast zone surface waters were derived from pyrolysis of plant and soil organic materials incorporated into pyroclastic flow, mud flow and debris avalanche deposits. A major fraction of the dissolved organic material consisted of high molecular weight, colored, organic acids that are similar in their general properties to aquatic fulvic acids found in more typical surface waters except for greater sulfur contents. The other major fraction of the dissolved organic material consisted of hydrophilic acids, which may include compounds capable of supporting heterotrophic microorganisms, and precursors in the formation of aquatic fulvic acids. The organic chemistry of blast zone surface waters will probably be greatly influenced by the May 18, 1980, eruption for many years. ?? 1982.