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In the Path of DestructionIn the Path of Destruction

Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens

Richard Waitt


Book published by Washington State University Press


A napping volcano blinked awake in March 1980. Two months later, the mountain roared. Author Richard Waitt was one of the first to arrive following the mountain's early rumblings. A geologist with intimate knowledge of Mount St. Helens, Waitt delivers a detailed and accurate chronicle of events. The eruption story unfolds through unforgettable, riveting narratives—the heart of a masterful chronology that also delivers engrossing science, history, and journalism.

Waitt was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team conducting volcano research in the Cascades, and was one of the first to arrive following the mountain’s early rumblings. His journey collecting eyewitness accounts began with a conversation in a bar the third week after Mount St. Helens erupted. The couple he met barely outraced a searing ash cloud, and Waitt realized their experiences could inform geologic studies. He eventually completed hundreds of interviews—sometimes two and three decades later—often making multiple visits.

A meticulous scientist with intimate knowledge of Mount St. Helens, Waitt also tapped legal depositions, personal diaries, geologists’ field notes, and more to present a detailed and accurate chronicle of events. In the Path of Destruction depicts the eruption through unforgettable, riveting narratives—the heart of a masterful chronology that also delivers engrossing science, history, and journalism.

Richard Waitt is research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey team.

REVIEWS:

“Richard Waitt frames the most extraordinary geologic event of our times. In the Path of Destruction is among the most gripping and thoroughly compelling books I have read in years.”

—Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen,Where Bigfoot Walks and Mariposa Road





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