44th Anniversary of Mount St. Helens Eruption

by Ken Ham on May 18, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Over 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Mount St. Helens in Washington state—the site of an impressive volcanic eruption 44 years ago today (May 18, 1980). I remember just marveling over the power of the blast and the might of the God who created the earth and its mountains. I thought of this verse of Scripture, “The mountains saw you and writhed” (Habakkuk 3:10). I also visited Mount St. Helens a few years after the eruption to see the devastation and the amazing consequences of this event.

That volcanic eruption completely changed the landscape. Here’s some of what took place:

  • A blast of steam, the equivalent of 20 megatons of TNT, stripped away two-thirds of a cubic mile of rock.
  • For nine hours, the volcano erupted—with a total energy output of approximately 33,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
  • Within six minutes, forests in the surrounding 150 square miles were devastated.
  • One million logs were dragged by a massive wave of water into nearby Spirit Lake. Many of them sank and, within just a few years, were buried up to three feet deep.
  • In seconds to minutes, ash beds were deposited that included complex sedimentary layering.
  • A subsequent eruption resulted in mudflows that carved a “mini Grand Canyon,” with individual canyons up to 140 feet deep.

Whew! And that’s just some of what took place at Mount St. Helens! Now, why is this eruption of so much significance? Well, because geologists got to see in real time how incredibly rapidly geological events can take place during a catastrophe. The formation of rock layers and the carving of canyons, for example, are thought by secular geologists to take hundreds of thousands or millions of years—and yet those same geologists were able to watch them form in minutes to days!

Mount St. Helens is an important “laboratory” for the global flood of Noah’s day and the geologic events that took place during that massive catastrophe.

Mount St. Helens is an important “laboratory” for the global flood of Noah’s day and the geologic events that took place during that massive catastrophe. I was privileged to get to see it in person all those years ago. It was beautiful and sobering at the same time. (You can learn more about lessons from the eruption in this article.)

Explore Mount St. Helens

And you now have the opportunity to see Mount St. Helens for yourself in honor of next year’s 45th anniversary of the eruption!

We’re offering a special Explore Excursion—a five-day trip to Mount St. Helens, August 18–22, 2025. This event will feature a one-day conference on the eruption and catastrophic geological processes then four days of hiking and a special astronomy night.

It’s going to be a wonderful experience! Don’t miss exploring Mount St. Helens from a biblical perspective with Dr. Terry Mortenson, Dr. Tim Chaffey, and additional AiG speakers and scientists—along with other creation scientists such as Dr. Steve Austin.

Register today on our Creation Museum website and enjoy an early-bird discount.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

Ken Ham’s Daily Email

Email me with Ken’s daily email:

Privacy Policy

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390