“History Snippets” serializes small bits of research from an unfinished test project. The theme is technology and natural events that shaped our modern world.
In a heavily populated area, this same eruption, small as volcanoes go, could have been catastrophic. An 83-year old resident named Harry R. Truman lived on the far end of Spirit Lake and refused to be evacuated. The explosion blew 1,200 feet of rock off the top of the mountain. They say Mr. Truman had 16 seconds before the superheated pyroclastic flow rolled over him; they never found Mr. Truman’s body. It was the biggest eruption in the 200+ year history of the political body called the United States. Due to the pillar of ash and smoke, one cannot see the actual mountain in the 1980 photo. Below, the mountain is shown 28 years after the eruption, in the photo below.
Volcanic Disaster Scales
The image below is a scaled-down image capture of a free PDF available online from Sky & Telescope magazine, “REAL Disasters” by editor in chief Robert Naeye. The PDF is available in the editors’ article “The Great 2012 Scare“.
- Mt. St. Helens is represented by the top cube, 1980, 0.24 cubic miles of ejecta
- Mt. Pinatubo, 1991, 2.4 cubic miles
- Krakatoa, 1883, 4.3 cubic miles
- Mount Mazuma (Crater Lake), 7,700 years ago, 18 cubic miles
- Tambora, 1815, 36 cubic miles
- Yellowstone caldera, 1.3 million years ago, 67 cubic miles
- Yellowstone caldera, 640,000 years ago, 240 cubic miles
- Santorini (not pictured), 5,500 years ago, 240 cubic miles
- Yellowstone caldera, 2.1 million years ago, 600 cubic miles
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