MONDAY, MAY 19, 1997 MOUNT ST. HELENS THE SALINA JOURNAL The Associated Press Stephen DeMarco, an employee of Exhibit Group in Beaverton, Ore., finishes last-minute details on the sound system at the Johnson Ridge Observatory in Mount St. Helens, Wash. Visitors will be treated to tiiis view of the active volcano when the screen rises after a movie. The observatory opened Saturday. shattered mountain Visitors get a straight-on view of Mount St. Helens By TIM KLASS 'I lie Associated I'ress VANCOUVER, Wash. — Ever since Mount St. Helens blew its top, visitors have craved a straight-on view into the crater. Now it's available, weather permitting. The gaping maw, more than the wide-screen movie or the other geological gee-wizardry, is the star attraction at a $10.5 million visitor center built into a ridge next to the volcano. The Johnston Ridge Observatory opened this weekend, 17 years after the volcano's deadly eruption on May 18,1980. "It brings the volcano up close," said Norm Banks, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist. The observatory, run by the U.S. Forest Service, offers an introduction to the biological recovery taking place in the 110,000- ncre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. "For me, personally, this is a great place to look out over the landscape and see what is happening," said Peter Frenzen, chief monument scientist; "You kind of have to understand the geology before you can understand the biolo- "This is a great place to look out over the landscape and see what is happening. You kind of have to understand the geology before you can understand the biology." Peter Frenzen chief scientist at Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument gy. There was precious little biology left 17 years ago after the mountaintop exploded with the force of a 24-megaton nuclear bomb. The blast killed 57 people and devastated 230 square miles. Trees 8 feet in diameter were smashed into matchsticks. Where once a symmetrical, 9,677-foot peak had towered over lush forest, a steaming, horseshoe- shaped crater with outer walls rising to 8,365 feet now dominated the desolation it had made. Nowadays, in clear weather, which prevails about a third of the time, the shattered mountain looms over a rocky terrain punctuated by a few green patches of grass, shrubs and trees. The volcano has been virtually inactive since 1986. The molten rock, or magma, has subsided beneath the volcano, and scientists see little danger of another eruption anytime soon. The crater is as much as 1.8 miles across and 2,084 feet deep, with a solidified plug of chunky lava inside. The observatory is 5.5 miles north of the peak and a quarter- mile east of the spot where USGS volcanologist David Johnston died after reporting by radio: "Vancouver, Vancouver. This is it!" His body was never found. The observatory includes a 264- seat, wide-screen theater for a 16- minute movie re-recreating the eruption. At the end, the screen and curtain rise to reveal a window framing the mountain. A display area features accounts by survivors of the eruption. At the center is a huge, snapped-off tree trunk with bits of pumice driven into the cracks. swi.won SCHOOL a OFFICE U F.'TItT® II • Kansas Employee Owned Company • Experienced, Knowledgeable Staff Over 173 Years Of Combined Experience! • Office Supplies • School Supplies • Computer Supplies • Gifts • Educational Materials • Calculators • Wedding Invitations & Accessories • Kansas Products, Gift Boxes & Baskets • Rubber Stamp Art Supplies • Art Supplies • Collectibles • Flags, Maps & Globes • Photo Albums & Scrupbooks FREE Same Day Delivery on In-Stock Items! SUPERIOR SCHOOL & OFFICE 214 South Santa Fe Salina, KS 67401 PHONE: 913-825-1641 *]?~]$r*F^^ Salina Iran & Metal, Inc. 312 N. 5th Street Salina, KS 67401 913-8259021 • Top Dollar Paid For Scrap Iron & Metals • Now Buying Aluminum Cans & Batteries • New Steel Sales & Special Order Steel Available •Used Pipe & Steel • Drop Off Location For All Household Appliances, freon must be properly recovered from units. Salina Iron & Metal will properly recover freon from units for $10.00 per unit. Commercial & Industrial Accounts Welcome Pick-Up Service Available! If You Want Quick Cash For Your Scrap Come To Salina Iron & Metal, Inc. Same Location For Over 50 Years! Special of the Month Galvanized l-Beam We have 1,600 pieces of 81" long, 3/8" thick with 6" web, this material was from the state auction. Call Us First For Service and Last For Prices!
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