Credit: USGS Photograph taken on May 18, 1980, by Donald A. Swanson
For more than nine hours a vigorous plume of ash erupted, eventually reaching 12 to 15 miles (20-25 kilometers) above sea level. The plume moved eastward at an average speed of 60 miles per hour (95 kilometers/hour), with ash reaching Idaho by noon. By early May 19, the devastating eruption was over. Shown here is a close-up view of the May 18 ash plume.