By in Science

The Mt. St. Helens Post Explosion

When I was still working for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, we were told certain employees were to be required to receive special safety training. Wouldn't you know I'd be one of the ones who got stuck with that? It meant I had to go to the Windy City via plane to attend a conference. My first time on a plane in a state I'd never been to before traveling alone... I was not a "happy camper."

So at the conference, they speak of Mt. St. Helens. What's that to me? Well it proved interesting.

Near the volcano is a lake, we were told, that was very popular for bathing. So some time after the explosion, and not because of the risk of volcanic activity, officials closed the lake to such activity. Why?

It was highly contaminated with the bacteria for Legionnaire's Disease. You just never know, do you? Hopefully they found it out without someone having to come down with the disease. Hopefully. You just never know, do you?

Image Credit » Pixabay

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cmoneyspinner wrote on June 7, 2017, 1:27 PM

Oh my! I did not know that!!!

MegL wrote on June 7, 2017, 4:42 PM

I wonder whether the two events were related? I am not sure whether they could be but just a coincidence? Legionnaire's disease comes from a bacterium that likes to live in water that doesn't get too hot, maybe that is the kind of water in that lake?

VinceSummers wrote on June 8, 2017, 8:14 AM

It's certainly a possibility. Still, I suspect cooled ash could provide nutrients.

lookatdesktop wrote on June 8, 2017, 1:37 PM

If they were absolutely conclusive about the disease it had to be spread by humans and it must have survived in the warm waters, heated by the hot underground. It would be interesting to know if the disease might be destroyed somehow to allow people to once again go there to bathe. I wonder if other such hot springs locations like the ones West of Texas, I forget the place, I think it is called Hot Springs, Arkansas. not sure exactly but anyway, seems like if there were a threat of human born bacteria it would be short lived once people stayed away a long time and the heat would eventually destroy it, right? or wrong?

I just read an article about that disease from an article I have posted a link for everyone to look at here:
http :// www . healthline . com / health / legionnaires - disease # overview1

I found two more perfectly good articles to post here for everyone to look at:

https :// www . britannica . com / science / hot - spring

Last Edited: June 8, 2017, 2:26 PM

lookatdesktop wrote on June 8, 2017, 1:45 PM

Hi there MegL, I thought you might want to read this article from this link about the connection between the Legionnaire's disease and the eruption of Mt. Saint Helen's. .. From The New York Times :

VinceSummers wrote on June 8, 2017, 1:54 PM

You hit a home run on this one, Anthony. Great.

MegL wrote on June 9, 2017, 2:24 AM

Ah, right, legionella is one of the "extreme" bacteria. Thanks.

MegL wrote on June 9, 2017, 3:23 AM

Thanks for the links. The legionella bacteria do not seem to NEED humans to survive and legionnaire's disease cannot be spread from person to person, unlike, for instance smallpox, which was spread from person to person and which appears to have been eradicated worldwide, thank goodness.