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Mount St. Helens Eruption Called 'Mild'

Mount St. Helens had a small eruption in May of 1982. Lyn Topinka, USGS hide caption

toggle caption Lyn Topinka, USGS

An aerial view of Mount St. Helens from Sept. 26, 2004, shows its northern flank and lava dome. John Pallister, USGS hide caption

toggle caption John Pallister, USGS

Mount St. Helens sends a huge column of steam and ash skyward, one day after scientists warned an eruption was imminent. The Washington state mountain was the site of a catastrophic surprise eruption in 1980.

Before Friday's mild eruption, Mount St. Helens had lain dormant for 18 years. Experts say the eruption did not pose a threat to public safety. Hear NPR's Craig Windham.

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