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Ecologist's Dream: A (Safe) Volcanic Eruption

Ecologist Charlie Crisafulli measures plant growth near Mount St. Helens, seen in background.
/ Howard Berkes, NPR
/
Howard Berkes, NPR
Ecologist Charlie Crisafulli measures plant growth near Mount St. Helens, seen in background.

New activity at Mount St. Helens -- from pluming steam to oozing lava -- has geologists monitoring the Washington state volcano closely. The gradual eruption that began in September, the first in 18 years, has some worried about explosions, ash and mudflows.

But ecologist Charlie Crisafulli, who has studied Mount St. Helens since 1980, says he's eager for the mountain to erupt again. According to Crisafulli, another eruption -- which he says would be nothing like its catastrophic predecessor -- would anchor his work, more than two decades of examining how life adjusts to a volcano.

After all, Crisafulli says, "what more could one ask for in their career?" NPR's Howard Berkes sends an audio postcard from the shadows of Mount St. Helens.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.