On May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, a volcano located in western Washington State. A two-month series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes preceded the eruption, An earthquake exposed the partly molten, gas-steam-rock, causing the eruption to explode, sending a hot mix of lava and pulverized older rock into the valley. A column rose 80,000 feet to the atmosphere depositing ash in 11 U.S. states. At the same time, snow, ice, and several entire glaciers on the mountain melted, forming a series of large lahars (volcanic mudslides) that reached the Columbia River nearly 50 miles to the southwest.

The blast killed fifty-seven people, reduced hundreds of square miles to wasteland, caused billions of U.S. dollars in damage, killed thousands of game animals, and left Mount St. Helens with a crater on its north side. The area became the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

At the time, I worked at Morning Star Boys’ Ranch located on Browns Mountain. It looked west over the west plains of Spokane in eastern Washington. We watched as the dark cloud came from the west, enveloping our location. The next morning, the farm ground surrounding the Ranch had a gray layer of ash, fine as the finest bath powder. Walking raised clouds of ash; we shoveled it off sidewalks, cars, and made pathways to the barn.

Because we had two months warning, we thought we knew what to expect; we could not even imagined what reality would present us.

We have been forewarned about climate change, and we think we know what to expect; we cannot even imagine what reality will present us. Ancient eruptions and modern, we delude ourselves into thinking we have power over Mother Nature. Denying reality serves no one. An Information Age Apocalypse, to be rejoiced and celebrated, dilutes much needed thinking and action.

Stone Age Apocalypse

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