We tend to think that humans can have the most disruptive impact on the planet. As these volcanic eruptions show, that’s really not the case.
On May 18, 1980, the rumblings of Washington’s Mount St. Helens finally culminated in an eruption that lasted nine hours — and with a force 500 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The mountain lost 14 percent of its elevation and the blast killed everything within 230 miles. 57 people died as a result, making it the most deadly volcanic eruption in U.S. history. But compared to eruptions throughout world history, it’s practically nothing.