May 18, 1980. You might remember that on that day there was an incredible explosion which was estimated at 500 times more powerful than the force of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. This explosion was so powerful that it ripped 1,200 feet off the top of a 9,700 foot volcano known as Mount St. Helens.
Although the mountain had been dormant for 123 years, within minutes incredible power was unleashed. Thousands of tons of volcanic ash were thrust into the atmosphere. The cloud of ash literally turned day into night in the surrounding communities. They were virtually immobilized as from 4 to 6 inches of the powdery substance fell like a winter snowstorm.
What was once considered prime hunting and fishing country was decimated. Sports Illustrated reported that 26 lakes, 154 miles of trout streams, and 195 square miles of wildlife habitat were destroyed. Powerful.
But Mount St. Helens was not powerful compared to another volcano which erupted in 1883. Mount Krakatoa, in Indonesia, erupted with a force that was equal to 30 hydrogen bombs. The power from Mount St. Helens was estimated at 500 atomic bombs. One hydrogen bomb is equal to 1,000 atomic bombs. So, Mount Krakatoa was equal to 30,000 atomic bombs. Mount Krakatoa was 60 times more powerful than Mount St. Helens. During the eruption of Mount Krakatoa, tidal waves killed 36,000 people in Java and Sumatra, and a cloud of ash cooled the earth's climate for almost two years.
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Contributed by Troy Borst on Jul 15, 2001
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Contributed by David Yarbrough on May 20, 2002
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Contributed by K. Edward Skidmore on Jan 16, 2007
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