Q:

How did Mount St. Helens get its name?

A:

Quick Answer

The modern name of this volcano was given to it by Captain George Vancouver in 1792. He named it in honor of Alleyne Fitzherbert, who was the British ambassador to Spain. Fitzherbert held the title of Baron St. Helens.

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How did Mount St. Helens get its name?
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Full Answer

Before Captain Vancouver named the volcano, Native Americans living in the Pacific Northwest referred to it as "Louwala-Clough," which meant "smoking mountain."

Mount St. Helens was considered an inactive volcano until it erupted in 1980, reminding the world that it was as dangerous as volcanoes found in Hawaii and Alaska. After that famous explosion, researchers began studying the volcano and discovered it had erupted on several different occasions, some as early as 40,000 years before.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did Mount St. Helens erupt?

    A:

    The largest eruption of Mount St. Helens in recent history occurred on May 18, 1980, when a cataclysmic eruption removed most of the northern face of the mountain. At 8:32 a.m. PDT, the summit collapsed into a rock debris avalanche that released a lateral gas explosion.

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  • Q:

    When is Mount St. Helens going to erupt again?

    A:

    While it is not yet possible to predict volcanic eruptions decades in advance, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory continually monitors Mount St. Helens to gather data for more accurate short-term predictive models. According to “Future Eruptions at Mount St. Helens,” this volcano is the most likely to erupt in the Cascade Mountains of Washington again in the coming decades.

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  • Q:

    What should you pack when visiting Mount St. Helens?

    A:

    Bring all the equipment otherwise required for hiking or camping in a mountainous area with rapidly changing weather when visiting Mount St. Helens. It is also necessary to have a special hiking permit that allows climbing above 4,800 feet. These permits are required throughout the year and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

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  • Q:

    How did Mount St. Helens form?

    A:

    Mount St. Helens is a cinder cone volcano that formed through the gradual accumulation of cinders and ash at the base of the mountain. Unlike a shield volcano, such as Mauna Loa in Hawaii, cinder cones can rise sharply from the surrounding terrain and maintain a steep, angular profile throughout their existence.

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