Lakes and thermal environments in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens

Approximately 20 lakes exist in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens. The degree to which they were disturbed on May 18, 1980 ranges from slight to a complete physical, chemical, and biological restructuring. Initially, our research focused on the physical, chemical, and microbial conditions within the lakes. Heavily devastated lakes were markedly changed chemically and all plants and animals eliminated. Recovery took the form of dramatic physical and chemical changes within the lakes which were linked to microbial activity. Rapid recovery occurred the first two years. Once the physical and chemical conditions were ameliorated, further biological succession was possible. Presently, we continue to track these changes.

 

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