Friday, February 10, 2012

Exploring the different ways scientists work: Mt St Helens

We are in the Geology Unit, and took a look at one of the best studied volcanic eruptions of all time.

In 1980, Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington erupted.  In class today we looked at how scientists in two different disciplines studied the Mount St. Helens eruption.  A group of Geologists from the United States Geological Survey were very interested in the mechanics of the eruption, and why the mountain exploded the way it did.  The eruption eradicated almost all life in a 230 square mile area north of the mountain.  Ecologists were very interested in how plant and animal communities recolonized this lifeless, ash-covered area.  Neither of these scientist teams did experiments, but instead studied what  naturally happened, and learned a lot from it.  Read the post before where I clarify the difference between experiments and studies.

If you are interested in learning more about these studies, check out the links below.

Here is an account of the blast from the USGS.

This ecologist studied the change in plant and animal communities since the blast.

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