University of St Andrews

Volcanic ash from Mt St Helens 35 years later

Tuesday 01 September 2015

St Andrews lecturer Dr Richard Streeter has recently returned from Washington state, US, where he was working on volcanic ash deposits from the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens.

Richard and collaborators from Edinburgh and Cambridge universities spent a day in the field with Richard Waitt of the US Geological Survey. Richard Waitt mapped the fall out in the immediate aftermath of the eruption. They then spent several days re-visiting sites from the initial mapping to see how the deposits of volcanic ash had changed in the intervening 35 years. This trip is part of a project which looking at how volcanic ash is transformed from its initial fall out to its eventual long term preservation in the soil. 

The photograph below shows Richard Streeter (on right) sampling Mt St Helens volcanic ash on the slopes of Mt Adams. 

Photo of Richard Streeter, Mt St Helens-tephra