The Changing View of Mt. St. Helens
In the spring of 1980, a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows began at Mt. St. Helens, 52 miles north of The Grotto. Activity, including steam venting and earthquakes, escalated until Sunday, May 1, 1980, when a major explosive eruption took place. The eruption, which was visible from Portland, caused the north face of the mountain to slide away, creating a large crater which exists today. The landscape was changed forever.
From The Grotto's Meditation Chapel in the Upper Gardens, the south face of the mountain is visible on a clear day. However, the shape has changed and the elevation of the mountain dropped 1370 feet, from 9,677 feet to 8,307 feet.
Below: a photo taken in the 1950s during construction of the Chapel of Mary, before the massive eruption, followed by a recent photo.