A car which was caught in a Lahar.
Secondary effects included:
Lahars rushing down Toutle and cowlitz river valleys reaching Columbia river and
halting Shipping for a time.
At the time seventy (estimated) were buried as they had no idea how many were in
the area, some were suffocated by gases, or burned. The most common caused of death was asphyxiation
by ash. Two people died in a car going seventy miles per hour trying to outrun the ash. In many areas the ash was two to three
inches thick, and some was even six.
Everyone used masks, bandanas, coffee filters, or socks over his/her nose
or mouth. The worry was from the effects of the volc
anic ash. The amount of ash was so great it could cover one square mile of Manhattan
to a depth of three times the height of the Empire State building. Many People were afraid the ash would cause cancer,
human mutations, silicosis, or aggravate allergies. But, by September, the Batelle Laboratory indicated the ash would not
harm the lungs of humans or do damage to individual cells. But, scientists worried about long-term effects on the climate.
It could cause freezing, crop killing temperatures in summer, along with horrific blizzards.
How many People Died? And What else suffered?
Throughout all the eruptions of Mount St. Helens, millions of animals and people were destroyed or killed. Thirty-five
individuals lost their lives, and twenty-five people were missing and later presumed dead. Sixty seven thousand, fifty-two
animals died from the eruption and lava flows, and one million, four hundred eighty three thousand, nine hundred died as a
result of ash fall. Crop loss was estimated at one hundred million dollars, or seven percent of the national crop value for
that region. Fifty percent of the alfalfa hay crop was ruined. On the other hand, the wheat, potato, and apple crop was above
normal, due to decrease in destructive insect populations. One hundred million dollars worth of timber was destroyed, and
three billion, two hundred thousand dollars board feet was salvage. Mudflows destroyed houses, logging camps, and other developments.
However, wildlife was the greatest loss as birds and insects were burnt up or suffocated by ash fall. Mud and
rocks rolled down streams killing everything in them. Superheated gas with ash and broken rock hurtled down the
face of Mount St. Helens into Spirit Lake killing more water animals. One million, five hundred thousand game birds were lost
as a result of eruptions and ash fall. These numbers do not include the eleven million salmon and other fish killed, along
with the untold non-game animals, amphibians, and insects.