Despite weeks of warning earthquakes and the extraordinary work of geologists who had kept the public away from the volcano despite tourism pressure, fifty-seven people died in the resulting explosions, lava flows and pyroclastic clouds that belched out from the volcano.
After the initial explosion and venting, the top of Mt. St. Helens was lowered by 400 feet. Over the next two decades, minor venting and explosions have rebuilt the summit, but there have been no major eruptions like the May 18, 1980 one, which has been classified as the most deadly and economically destructive volcanic eruption in the history of the United States.
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