On May 18, 1980, the Mount St. Helens became the largest and most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history. By the end of its cycle of fire and fury, 57 people had died.
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted with a force equivalent to 1,500 Hiroshima atom bombs, shooting gas and ash 15 miles high and obliterating virtually everything within an eight-mile radius. Trapped in the disaster were six people, including scientists studying the volcano, an elderly resident who refused to be evacuated, and campers who thought they were outside the danger zone. These are their stories, relived and retold by the lucky survivors and the friends and family of the fallen.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.