Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.


Mount St. Helens lecture

April 10, 2014

Charles Rosenfeld, Ph.D., is one of the scientists who witnessed and studied the Mount St. Helens' eruption. In this lecture, he shares his personal memories of the near supersonic blast and its aftermath, including the briefing he gave President Carter.

Charles Rosenfeld, a geomorphologist and a captain in the U.S. National Guard, was en-route to Mount St. Helens in an OV-1 Mohawk aircraft when it erupted.Wednesday, April 16
4-5 p.m.
TILT Building
Room 221

A narrow escape

On May 18, 1980, Charles Rosenfeld, Ph.D., a professor of geomorphology at Oregon State University and captain in the U.S. National Guard, was flying in a National Guard OV-1 Mohawk aircraft en-route to do aerial photography of Mount St. Helens.

Shortly before he reached his destination, the mountain erupted.

Geologists in another plane that was only 400 meters above the summit narrowly outran the rocks, ash, and steam that blasted upward.

Several people in vehicles on the western edge of Mount St. Helens raced ahead of the blast cloud by driving 65 to 100 miles per hour.

Recounting his memories

Rosenfeld took an aerial photograph (seen at right) of the mushroom-shaped column that rose 80,000 feet in the air and spewed volcanic ash in 11 states.

The near-supersonic lateral blast devastated the surrounding area, claimed the lives of 57 individuals, and triggered a massive mudslide that clogged the Columbia River and shut down the city of Portland.

The volcanic eruption was the deadliest and most destructive in United States history.

As one of the scientists who studied Mount St. Helens both before and after the eruption, Rosenfeld had the opportunity to brief President Carter during his visit to the site. During this lecture, Dr. Rosenfeld will recount his memories of the explosion and its aftermath.

Sponsored by the Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Contact: Mary Swanson
Phone: (970) 491-2185