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Figure 2 shows the largest steam explosion pit on the headwaters of the North Fork of the Toutle River in the process of formation on May 23.As the jet of steam continued to ream the 125-foot-deep pit, mass wasting enlarged it to a length of 2300 feet and a width of 1000 feet. Largest steam explosion pit in the process of formation on May 23, 1980, looking east. The southwest shore of Spirit Lake is in the upper left corner.The nine-hour eruption which followed was one of the most photographed and studied volcanic events in history.
The pumice is composed of fine dacite ash and coarse rock fragments.According to traditional interpretations, this topography might be assumed to require many centuries of rill and gully erosion if the rapid progress of its development had not been observed. Largest steam explosion pit viewed from the east on June 18, 1980.The pit is 2300 feet long and has a flat floor of pumice deposited by the volcano's June 12 eruption.Figure 1 shows the new shore of Spirit Lake with a cliff up to 20 feet high that was cut by erosion since the lake level was stabilized.Above this cliff is the slope scoured by the enormous early water waves. Wave-cut cliff up to 20 feet high on western shore of Spirit Lake in August 1983.