Mount St. Helens is located in the Cascade Mountains of Skamania County, Washington just over 90 miles south of Seattle and 50 miles north of Portland. For days in early 1980, the volcano exhibited increasing earthquakes and other warning signs, including magna rising inside at the rate 5 feet per day.
On May 18, 1980, a violent earthquake inside the mountain caused a large section of the north face of the mountain to slide, leading to a massive eruption, killing at least 56 people.
The blast leveled nearly every tree for many miles, sending thousands of them into Spirit Lake. Further study by geologist Steve Austin, who dove down into Spirit Lake years later, saw firsthand how the trees had been stripped of bark. The bark was already forming a several feet-thick layer of peat, which is the early stage of coal, indicating that coal formation can happen much faster than evolutionary theory states.
Some of the trees had become water-logged at one end and were floating straight up and down in the lake. Others had already sunk and landed on the bottom of the lake in a vertical position. Some of those were embedded all the way to the bottom with the peat layer surrounding their base. Others were standing vertical at different depths in the peat and some had just sunk and were sitting on top of the peat. Austin said this reminded him of the fossil trees at Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone National Park, which are also buried upright, at various depths with no roots.
The ice and snow on the mountain mixed with the hot gases and lava causing a debris and mud flow down the Toutle River. In the matter of several hours, the mud and debris carved a series of canyons up to 100 feet deep.
The resulting canyon system has since been referred to as the Little Grand Canyon because of how much it resembled the Grand Canyon including many tributary canyons. When scientists later visited the Little Grand Canyon, they discovered that even though the mud flow was one event, the newly cut canyon walls revealed hundreds of layers that were already turning to rock.
Prior to this event, most evolutionary geologists would have looked at the layers in the Little Grand Canyon and would have interpreted it as evidence of thousands of years, yet it happened in less than 24 hours. It caused many geologists to reconsider some of their presuppositional philosophies.
Not only the deposition of many layers in less than a day was evidence for a short time frame geology, but the canyon itself also provided strong evidence for a short time event in canyon formation. Like the Grand Canyon, geologists not aware of the Little Grand Canyon’s history would have again interpreted it as being carved by the Toutle River over hundreds of thousands of years when in fact it happened in about 3 hours.
Mount St. Helens was a young-earth creationists’ dream come true as it provided strong evidence for fast catastrophic geologic formation of many of the features we see around the world today. The vast majority of the Earth’s features can now be easily explained as occurring in the past 6,000 years in accordance with God’s creation instead of the billions of years of slow and gradual godless evolutionary theory.
Now I wonder if Mount St. Helens is preparing to teach more about young-earth geology. In the past two months, scientists have been detecting a growing number of earthquakes or tremors just below the mountain at depths of only 4 to 1.2 miles. In the past 8 weeks, there have been over 130 quakes with some reaching magnitudes of 1.3. Although not strong enough to be felt on the surface, the growing frequency and strength of the quakes have a number of geologists wondering if the mountain is re-awakening and building towards another eruption.
When it might blow again is anyone’s guess at this point. A similar earthquake swarm was detected in 2013 and 2014. Volcanologists say a volcano like Mount St. Helens can continue to recharge for many years before erupting, but three swarms of quakes in four years could indicate sooner rather than later.
If and when Mount St. Helens blows it top, a number of creationist geologists will be ready and waiting to see what new gems of knowledge the mountain will reveal about how our sin cursed world came to look like it does in such a short time frame of just over 6,000 years.