Was the 18 May 1980 lateral blast at Mt St Helens the product of two explosions?

Richard P. Hoblitt

Abstract

The 18 May 1980 lateral blast at Mt St Helens has been interpreted as the product of a single explosion by some stratigraphers and as two closely spaced explosions by others. The stratigraphic evidence that bears on this question is inconclusive; strata change dramatically over short distances and this complexity provides wide latitude for interpretation. Some independent non-stratigraphic evidence, however, suggests that the blast was the product of two explosions or clusters of explosions. The independent evidence comes from eyewitness accounts and photographs, from satellite sensors, and from seismic records. This paper reviews the pertinent evidence, offers a new interpretation, and concludes that the blast was indeed the product of two explosions or clusters of explosions.

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