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Recording Apparently Mount St. Helens Eruption Heard on Oregon Coast

Published 05/18/23 at 8:22 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Newport, Oregon) – On May 18, 1980, a part of southern Washington exploded. At 8:32 a.m., after weeks of jittery-inducing activity that was studied by scientists and publicized like crazy by local media, Mount St. Helens erupted with a major blast. The force killed 57 people, leveled tens of miles of forest and all manner of lands around it, and it sent ash hundreds of miles away. (Photo USGS)

It was also heard hundreds of miles away, reportedly, and there are definitely some recordings of it, sometimes from actual footage of the explosion itself. From out of the immediate vicinity, the noise is often described as a series of thuds. Some of this was the result of sound bouncing off the atmosphere and some of it was sound waves bouncing and careening off mountains in the Pacific Northwest.

Closer in, it was the crunchy kind of boom you'd expect. It's even a bit chilling. Numerous recordings are found on YouTube, all displaying that “thud” noise that everyone outside the blast area had described.

But was the blast heard on the Oregon coast?


That is entirely possible. According to numerous news and geological sources, including The Oregonian, it was heard a good 150 miles away. One blogger named DaveInCamas has posted just such a recording, apparently done in Newport on that day. There is indeed that muffled thud noise, happening several times.


Was this one from the Oregon coast ever studied or confirmed? It does not appear so. Thus, Oregon Coast Beach Connection cannot verify the recordings' authenticity. It is, however, an interesting historical tidbit to think this would've been the beach region.

Today is 43 years since the eruption.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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