Recovering from Mount St. Helens

If a portion of Earth underwent a major cataclysm, how long would it take for life to recover? The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens is giving scientists a an unprecedented opportunity to witness a recovery from devastation, as the eruption leveled the surrounding forest, blasted away hundreds of meters of the mountain’s summit, and claimed 57 human lives. Landsat satellites have tracked the what has happened on the mountain, and how the forest was reclaimed — all on its own. This video shows a timelapse of the recovery, with annual images from 1979-2011 from the Landsat satellites, which acquired the images seen here between 1979 and 2011.

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