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The eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, was the most catastrophic and deadly volcanic event ever experienced in the United States. That event had the force of thousands of atom bombs and destroyed 234 square miles of forestland. This highly visual book tells the scientific and human story of that cataclysm and the remarkable recovery that has occurred. Some surprising facts are that the late winter of 1980 contributed to the survival of some hibernating animals; the larger mammals, including elk, brown bears, and cougars have all returned; and unaffected forests quickly spread to cover areas that were wiped out by the blast.