Timelapse: Mount St. Helens

Landsat Imagery of Mount St. Helens blast zone from 1980 – 2010 from NASA.

We’re heading to the Pacific Northwest for this week’s throwback Thursday (#TBT) to check out the changes on and around Mount St. Helens over the years.  The 1980 eruption certainly wasn’t the largest or deadliest eruption in recorded history, but it may be one of the most thoroughly researched.  For over 30+ years, scientists have been exploring how the landscape recovers from such a catastrophic event.  But it may surprise you that there’s an even bigger transformation going on in national forests around this infamous stratovolcano.

All around the mountain, logging companies have been clearcutting large tracts of the national forests for timber. If you look at this map of global forest cover from the University of Maryland, you will see a checkerboard of growth, loss, and a mix of both. But keep in mind, the areas that show gain are not necessarily diverse, old-growth forests, they are most likely a monoculture crop grown over decades instead of months.

The google-powered Timelapse below allows you to view the landscape changes around Mount St. Helens from 1984 to 2012 (the eruption occurred in 1980).  After you explore the Timelapse, you can also check out the Global Forest Watch to see exactly how the forests have changed over the past 12 years.

Interested in what you see from our Timelapse investigations?  Do some of your own and share your findings with us on Facebook or Twitter!