Humoring a Volcano
Humoring a volcano.

May 18, 1980 – When The Mountain Blew – The Mt. St. Helens Volcano –

Humoring a volcano.

Humoring a volcano.

Download For $1.99: - May 18, 1980 - CBS Radio - Gordon Skene Sound Collection

On May 18, 1980 the infamous Mt. St. Helens in Washington State blew and threatened communities surrounding the mountain with thick clouds of ash and an anticipated lava and mud flow.

One report said lava was already starting to flow, but it wasn’t substantiated. At news time (12:00 noon Pacific), all the action was in the sky. The initial blast registered a 5 on the Richter scale; enough to jostle people out of bed, but no reported injuries. The story was developing.

Scientists knew that something wicked had been brewing beneath this volcano in Washington State that lies between Seattle and Portland. During a period of less than two months, a bulge the size of a town had appeared on its north flank, a vast pimple of unusually positioned magma. But the singular ferocity and unusual dimensions of the eruption took almost everyone by surprise, serving as a reminder of how much the science of volcanology had yet to learn.

Meanwhile, Europe was contemplating economic sanctions against Iran, as the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis was still grinding on. The Common Market had chosen a set of sanctions considerably weaker than the ones proposed shortly after the crisis began. Only those contracts which had been signed after the Embassy seizure would be subject to embargo.

In an interview, Pakistan‘s President General Zia was quoted to have said the U.S. should take advantage of Pakistan’s “island of stability” as a means of preventing the Soviet Union’s expansionism. He went on to deny Pakistan was developing a nuclear weapon.

And curfews were imposed on portions of Miami as well as bans on liquor and firearms sales, in light of rioting which had taken place earlier. The rioting followed the acquittal of 4 former Miami Police officers, accused of killing a Black businessman. The case caused an uproar and the Justice Department was seeking Civil Rights indictments against the four White policemen, acquitted by an all-white jury. At news time, 9 persons were known dead and over 120 injured from the riots.

All that, and much-much more for this May 18, 1980 as reported by George Herman and the CBS Hourly News.

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