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Spirit Lake

Psalm 29:10: The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

To the North of Mount St Helens is a beautiful lake, called Spirit Lake – probably from trapped water in an earlier eruption of the volcano. This lake played a fascinating role in the events of May 19th 1980, when the mountain blew.

The volcano erupted laterally. That is to say, its eruption was horizontal, rather than vertical. The volcanic blast knocked down enormous, mature trees on the heavily forested mountainsides up to 17 miles away. Part of the landslide, caused by this eruption, went into Spirit Lake, and pushed its water, in a huge wave, 800 feet up the mountainside opposite, where the trees had, moments before, been knocked down by the blast. The returning water brought with it a million trees. This water settled on top of landslide debris, so the bottom of the lake is now some 300 feet higher than it was before the events of 1980. The hillside today bears the scars of that wave. Below the 800ft mark, there are few trees, whereas above that point, there are many fallen trees remaining nearly 40 years on.

This landscape, like so many in the area, was changed catastrophically, in minutes. The change did not take millions of years. In Genesis, we read that the entire world’s surface was changed by a devastating worldwide flood. It is not a surprise to us, therefore, to see how fast the landscape was changed, in this small, localized catastrophe, without requiring millions of evolutionary years.

Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge that You are in control, even of natural events. Nothing takes You by surprise, and You are Sovereign over all. Amen.

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