The cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens May 18, 1980, removed 2.9 km2 (about 0.13 km3) of glacier snow and ice including a large part of Shoestring, Forsyth, Wishbone, Ape, Nelson, and all of Loowit and Leschi Glaciers. Minor eruptions and bulging of the volcano from March 27 to May 17 shattered glaciers which were on the deforming rock and deposited ash on other glaciers. Thick ash layers persisted after the May 18 eruption through the summer on most of the remaining snow and ice, and protected winter snow from melting on Swift and Dryer Glaciers. Melting and recrystalization of snow and ice surviving on Mount St. Helens could cause and lubricate mudflows and generate outburst floods. Study of glaciers that remain on this active volcano may assist in recognizing potential hazards on other volcanoes and lead to new contributions to knowledge of the transient response of glaciers to changes in mass balance or geometry.
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USGS Numbered Series
Effects of volcanism on the glaciers of Mount St. Helens