Spirit Lake Breach Would Be Catastrophic, New Study Says
Flooding from the Mt. St. Helens lake is unlikely, but consequences are high.
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A new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study requested by three Washington state lawmakers has found that any breach of Spirit Lake at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument would threaten severe flooding. Spirit Lake poses a unique risk because it re-formed after the 1980 volcanic eruption in a new spot without natural drainage. It could push through its new lakebed, especially in an earthquake, the report found. While such a flood is unlikely, officials are pushing for new projects to help prevent damage if it does occur.