After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens - by Eric Wagner
After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens
by Eric Wagner
Published by University of Washington Press, Seattle
"After The Blast is the story of the greatest ecological experiment in Northwest history, told with beauty and verve by one of our best biology writers. Eric Wagner gives us a terrific read, equally gripping for its social and natural history. I recommend it in the highest terms." - Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen and Magdalena Mountain
On May 18,1980, people all over the world watched with awe and horror as Mount St. Helens erupted. Fifty-seven people were killed and hundreds of square miles of what had been lush forests and wild rivers were to all appearances destroyed.
Ecologists thought they would have to wait years, or even decades, for life to return to the mountain, but when forest scientist Jerry Franklin helicoptered into the blast area a couple of weeks after the eruption, he found small plants bursting through the ash and animals skittering over the ground. Stunned, he realized he and his colleagues had been thinking of the volcano in completely the wrong way. Rather than being a dead zone, the mountain was very much alive.
Mount St. Helens has been surprising ecologist ever since, and in After the Blast Eric Wagner takes readers on a fascinating journey through the blast area and beyond. From fireweed to elk, the plants and animals Franklin saw would not just change how ecologists approached the eruption and its landscape, but also prompt them to think in new ways about how life responds in the face of seemingly total devastation.
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