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Mt. St. Helens Back From The Dead

When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, every living thing in the blast zone was buried beneath 300 feet of avalanche debris, covered with steaming mud and, finally, topped with a superheated layer of frothy rock from deep within the earth. It seemed as though Mount St. Helens might remain a wasteland forever. Then, to everyone’s surprise, life began to bloom again. NOVA brings viewers on a journey of a landscape brought back from the dead.

A single lupine plant was the first sign of the return of life.

A single lupine plant was the first sign of the return of life.

Credit: ©Gary Braasch

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake in sunset light.

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake in sunset light.

Credit: Martin Stoni ©Interspot Film

Mt. St. Helens in the morning light.

Mt. St. Helens in the morning light.

Credit: Martin Stoni ©Interspot Film

Aerial view of Mt. St. Helens dome.

Aerial view of Mt. St. Helens dome.

Credit: Daniel Hissen ©Interspot Film

Charlie Crisafulli and Jon Major on the crater's rim.

Charlie Crisafulli and Jon Major on the crater's rim.

Credit: Daniel Hissen ©Interspot Film

View from the crater's rim to Spirit Lake.

View from the crater's rim to Spirit Lake.

Credit: Daniel Hissen ©Interspot Film

Flowering meadow at Mt. St. Helens.

Flowering meadow at Mt. St. Helens.

Credit: Jutta Wirth ©Interspot Film

Mt. St. Helens eruption.

Mt. St. Helens eruption.

Credit: Gary Rosenquist ©Joel E. Harvey

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