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    Cernan Earth and Space Center

    The Eruption of Mount St. Helens

    Grade Level: 3rd grade and up
    Length: 23 minutes

    The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, filmed in the C-360 wraparound film format, visually documents one of the most dramatic geologic events to ever occur on the North American continent -- the May 18, 1980, eruption of Washington's Mount St. Helens. This eruption released the energy equivalent of 27,000 atomic bombs, blew clouds of ash 16 miles into the air, was heard by people 700 miles away and killed approximately 55 persons.

    Spectacular images of the Mount St. Helens region prior to the eruption contrast markedly with the massive devastation that can be seen in aerial views taken shortly after the eruption. One of the highlights of the film is the spectacular aerial view of the very beginning of a secondary eruption that took place several weeks after the main eruption. The film shows how such eruptions of ash tore up portions of Mount St. Helens while domes of lava gradually built up other parts of the volcano.

    Eventually, the "building forces" prevailed, and approximately 200 years from now, Mount St. Helens will finally reach its pre-eruption height. In addition to geological rebuilding, The Eruption of Mount St. Helens also documents the gradual return of life to the zone of destruction and how volcanic eruptions are part of a much larger natural cycle of destruction and rebirth.

    A minishow may precede the presentation of this C-360 film. Following The Eruption of Mount St. Helens film is a brief question-and-answer period.