NOVA "Mt. St. Helens is Back from the Dead" on WXXI-TV

NOVA "Mt. St. Helens is Back from the Dead" on WXXI-TV

Tue, 05/04/2010 - 8:00pm

Pictured: Mt. St. Helens

Credit: Gary Rosenquist ©Joel E. Harvey

Plant and animal life has returned to the barren landscape of Mount St. Helens after the eruption in 1980. But there’s a new threat: The mountain, too, is coming back to life.

When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, every living thing in the blast zone was buried beneath 300 feet of avalanche debris, covered with steaming mud and, finally, topped with a superheated layer of frothy rock from deep within the earth. It seemed as though Mount St. Helens might remain a wasteland forever. Then, to everyone’s surprise, life began to bloom again. Over the course of 30 years, biologist Charlie Crisafulli has been documenting the dramatic return of plant and animal life to the barren landscape. But he has also tracked a new threat: The mountain, like the wildlife, is coming back to life. Soon after the 1980 eruption, new lava was bubbling up to the surface, and in 2004, a flurry of explosions blasted steam and ash thousands of feet into the air over Mount St. Helens. NOVA presents a pioneering look at the interplay between biology and geology that may help scientists predict future volcanic eruptions. NOVA "Mt. St. Helens is Back from the Dead" airs Tuesday, May 4 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT 21.1/ cable 1011 and 11).

 

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