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: The blast zone north of the volcano still looks very desolate, especially south of Johnston Ridge.
Fallen trees remain all over the hillsides many miles from the crater, bearing mute testimony to the power of the eruption that flattened virgin forest in seconds.
This is an eyewitness report of ecological renewal at the volcano that erupted 32 years ago. The event, advertised on Do Not Be Deceived.org, was organized with help from members of the Design Science Association of Portland and 7 Wonders Museum on highway 504 west of Mt. : The volcano is very stark, with most of the surroundings still highly impacted by the eruption 32 years ago.
This past Saturday, August 4, a group of about 60 people hiked the Johnston Ridge trail to view Mt. Two deep gorges, Loowit Canyon, headed with a large waterfall, and Step Canyon, 600 feet deep, descend from the crater and flow into the North Fork of the Toutle River. In the vast landslide debris field below the crater, the “Little Grand Canyon” becomes visible after about 1.5 miles on the trail.
About 35% of the logs remain, mostly douglas fir that could float for decades more.
Snowmelt over the post-eruption years caused rapid rise in lake levels that threatened another catastrophic dam breach down the North Toutle drainage, so engineers carved a tunnel over a mile long to divert the excess water down Coldwater Canyon.
So covered was the lake with logs and pumice from the blast, early reports claimed Spirit Lake had been obliterated entirely.
Our guides told us that in places where we were walking along the ridge and in the valley, we would have been in the sky before the eruption, looking down on the tops of old-growth forest. Textbooks on geology and ecology had to be rewritten because of the events that followed that fateful morning (for example, see Science Daily article today). Austin’s work is proof against the accusation that creationists only criticize evolution without offering original research.
Ecologists were surprised at how quickly the lake rebounded, however. Trout were probably illegally reintroduced by a tourist, since it is questionable they could have found their way in naturally.
They are doing well, after subsiding from record growth rates when first introduced into the uncompetitive environment.
The volume of material lost to the once-conical volcano is very striking, even as seen from airliners leaving Portland; it’s like the mountain was sliced horizontally, with a huge gash on the north side where the lateral eruption unleashed its energy. To the contrary, his work, unfettered by Lyellian presuppositions, has been generally well received and has influenced secular geologists to reconsider the role of rapid catastrophic change.
The evidence he uncovered and published is second to none.
Truman and the others are fossilizing under tons of sediments.