US Forest Service

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens National Monument

Mount St. Helens
Pacific Northwest Research Station
1220 SW 3rd Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service

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The intermittent stream channel across this rocky plain carries water only during snowmelt runoff or heavy rainstorms (photo by Charlie Crisafulli).

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens, a snow-capped mountain in southwest Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, erupted. A debris avalanche—the largest in recorded history—along with a lateral blast, mud and pyroclastic flows, and airborne ash and stones instantly created a real-time laboratory for scientists that continues to transform and to intrigue scientists today (most recently with an episode of active lava dome growth that began in late 2004).

The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument—where the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s research occurs—was established in 1982 with the passage by Congress of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Act. The Act designates 106,255 acres around the volcano for research to allow “geologic forces and ecological succession to continue substantially unimpeded” and so underscores the unique research opportunities afforded by the landscape.

Station scientists were among the first to arrive on the scene after the 1980 eruption to assess disturbance effects and to develop a research strategy to study initial and long-term ecological responses. Their three decades of research have illuminated the way in which species and ecological processes respond to disturbance and have contributed to planning for the recovery of other disturbed areas, such as Chile’s Chaitén Volcano and Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano.

The Pacific Northwest Research Station

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station is part of the research branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. The station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has 11 laboratories and centers in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. About 425 scientists, professionals, technicians, administrative staff members, and research managers help the station to further its mission of generating and communicating scientific knowledge that helps people understand and make informed choices about natural resources and the environment.


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Thursday,14May2015 at13:38:18CDT

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