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This Happened

This Happened — May 18: Mount St. Helens Erupts

The volcano Mount St. Helens erupted on this day in 1980, in the state of Washington, United States.

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What caused the eruption of Mount St. Helens?

The eruption of Mount St. Helens was caused by a combination of geological factors, including the movement of tectonic plates, the buildup of magma beneath the volcano, and the presence of a large ice cap on the mountain.

What was the impact of the eruption of Mount St. Helens?

The eruption of Mount St. Helens had a devastating impact on the surrounding area. The blast and subsequent landslide destroyed forests, buildings, and roads, and caused widespread devastation in the region. It also created a massive ash cloud that reached as far as Montana and affected air traffic across the United States.

How many people died during the eruption of Mount St.Helens?

There were 57 deaths from the eruption, including volcanologists, loggers, and tourists who were in the vicinity of the mountain at the time of the eruption.

Is Mount St. Helens still an active volcano today?

Mount St. Helens is still an active volcano, and it remains closely monitored by volcanologists and other scientists. However, it has not erupted again since 2008, and the risk of another major eruption in the near future is considered low.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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