Mount St. Helens

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 12050

Have you ever heard a loud firecracker or maybe seen a building crew use dynamite? Mount St. Helens blew up with millions of times more power! The ash from the blowup even traveled around the earth!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • What do you see in the picture above?

It looks like a peaceful, strong, quiet mountain — but watch out! Read on to learn why!

Mount St. Helens is a volcano in the state of Washington in the United States of America.

The volcano is part of the Cascade Mountain range.

Look at the map below. The light green areas represent the Cascade Mountains. Mount St. Helens is near the top, above Portland, and close to Mount Adams.

  • Can you find it on the map and click on it?

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Mount St. Helens is famous for its eruption in 1980.

As of 2023, the eruption of Mount St. Helens was the largest volcanic eruption in the United States.

Scientists believe the eruption was caused by earthquakes that caused the volcano to become active again.

When a large earthquake hit, half of the mountain became a landslide that traveled over one hundred miles per hour. The landslide ended up crashing into Spirit Lake and causing waves that were six hundred feet tall!

Mount St Helen 5 days before its eruption in 1980

After the landslide came the massive eruption.

The volcano's heat, rock, and gases destroyed everything in its path. All the forests within three hundred miles were destroyed, leaving nothing but ash.

Ash continued to come out of the mountain for nine hours! The ash clouds were over 80,000 feet tall.

Mount St Helen eruption plume

After the initial eruption, there were five more throughout 1980. The July eruption pictured below sent ash 58,000 feet into the air.

July eruption of Mount St Helens

These huge explosions created a massive dent in the mountains surrounding Mount St. Helens. The photo below shows a small eruption two years after the eruption in 1982.

small Mount St Helens eruption in 1982

Mount St. Helens is now a tourist attraction with over 500,000 visitors yearly.

Even though the volcano is still active, scientists have found ways to track when an eruption will happen. This will allow people to evacuate if an eruption is going to happen.

You've learned a lot about Mount St. Helens!

Say two facts you learned about Mount St. Helens, then move on to the Got It? section to see the eruption as it happened!

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