USA/WA: Mount Saint Helens National Monument

Mount Saint Helens is another active stratovolcano south of Mount Rainier and this won tragically blew up its top in May 1982, making it the deadliest and most destructive volcanic event in the American history. 57 people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. For months before the eruption, the mountain was growing a bulb on its side, about a foot per day. Then a shallow 5.1 earthquake triggered and explosion and a massive avalanche of debris and lava. The mountain literally blew off its top – elevation of the summit was reduced from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,363 ft (2,549 m) and a giant hole of a crater was formed. 38 years after – and the destruction is still immense: the ash that fell everywhere turned the landscape into a desert-like desolation.