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Simmons B. Buntin
Dirty Words on Mount St. Helens

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Mount St. Helens crater, viewed from Windy Point north of the volcano. The Mount St. Helens crater. Scorched tree with Mount St. Helens in the distance. Meta Lake, within the blowdown and scorch zone, has come back vigorously in the three decades since the eruption. Spirit Lake with its vast mat of floating logs. Lupine bloom on the Pumice Plain. Wildflowers and shrubs fill the many shallow ravines of the Pumice Plain. Basalt and pumice near the base of the north side of Mount St. Helens. Loowit Falls with the western crater edge in the background as dust and old ash plume skyward. Pumice, a stone younger than Elizabeth Dodd, who tosses the air-filled rock it easily. The eastern peak of the Mount St. Helens crater, with Indian paintbrush and lupine blooming in the foreground. Afternoon clouds rolling in along the volcano's summit. The drama of blowdown and scorch on a trail to Ghost Lake. An abrupt example of the ferocity with which the 1980 eruption ripped down some trees, with a hillside of blowdown in the distance. A view of Ghost Lake reveals a hillside displaying scorch, blowdown, and unharmed forest areas. Fern growth in the blowdown area. Fred Swanson points out the paths of blowdown winds from the eruption as Science Pulse writers prepare to hike down to Spirit Lake. Cloud-topped Mount St. Helens. Douglas fir root system from a tree blown down during the eruption. A prairie of Indian paintbrush on the trail to Spirit Lake. The massive floating mat of downed trees on Spirit Lake. Spirit Lake itself now rests more than 80 meters above its pre-eruption height. Writer John Daniel writes in his journal as he takes in the surreal scene. Not the massive logs but rather the weathered tinder of branches along the shore. Fred Swanson discusses the geology and eruptive events of Mount St. Helens related to Spirit Lake. Botanist Mark Swanson discusses plant sampling techniques with students and writers. Mount St. Helens viewed from the Pumice Plain. Biology doctoral student Elise Larsen points out the nest of a pair of horned larks. Traditionally non-native species like this horned lark have readily taken to the rocky open spaces of the Pumice Plain. Rockfall and dust beside Loowit Falls. Dust from rockfalls is commonly mistaken for smoke from the volcano. Our one view of actual smoke from the lave dome deep within the Mount St. Helens crater. Silty stream flowing from Mount St. Helens to Spirit Lake. Slowly growing conifer among shrubs and wildflowers, with Mount St. Helens in the distance. Even on the dry Pumice Plain, spring-fed streams abound with life.