Why would I put this date on a Transformers website? Does it have something to do with when the Diaclones or when Transformers were developed?  Nope.   This is the date of the Mount St. Helens' infamous or famous eruption depending on how one looks at it. 

Early Sunday morning on May 18, 1980 at 8:32, there were several rumblings underneath Mount St. Helens that could be recorded by the semisographs, which measured them to have a magnitude of 5.1. The last of the rumblings set off one of the largest landslides - the entire north slope/flank of the volcano slid away. Before the eruption, a huge bulge was developing on the northern slope. There is a good possibility that during and between the various ramblings, the magma and the weak bulge was being pressurized.  The last earthquake illustrated what happens when a shaken soda bottle is opened. 


Once the north flank was gone, the volcano had a chance to show it true fury and the blast could be heard hundreds of miles away. The erupting ash column shot up 80,000 feet into the atmosphere for over 10 hours, depositing ash across Eastern Washington and 10 other states.  

That is all fascinating but why is it on a Transformers Website?

First of all, according to Bob Budiansky, the original volcano's name that the Autobots' Ark/spaceship crashes into and causes all of its passengers to go into stasis lock is named................................................................................Mount St. Helens (This was mentioned at Botcon 2010).   But I thought you said that the fictional volcano is named Mount St. Hilary.  Well, it is....the change was most likely due to that in 1984, Mount St. Helens' eruption was still fresh on people's minds. The original comic book mentions that the volcano is located in Oregon outside of Portland to the East.  However, Mount. St. Helens is in Washington not too far from Portland.  Also, they wanted to make the series fictional but realistic.    Even with the name change (although it was never mentioned in the cartoon series), there are distinct parallels to Mount St. Helens. 

With the visual parallels from the original eruption, one will have to use their imagination and you may see it. Let's start with the before pictures. Both volcanoes were very symmetrical before they erupt. 


When Mount St. Hilary erupted and woken up Teletraan-1, it erupted in an unusual way and not typical of volcano eruptions.  However, it erupted towards the side and towards the north. 

Compare this picture from the first episode, More than Meets the Eye part I, to..........this one below.  Anyone starting to see some parallels, yet?

The modern day view of Mount St. Helens, looking up Toutle Valley.  The Toutle River is in the foreground, which was flooded with numerous of fallen trees that were splintered by the eruption forces.  The river is actually visible in the original cartoon series. Mount St. Helens sits to a distance from the river, whereas....the river runs right by the volcano in the cartoon series.

Even though the pictures are not as identical as the eruption pictures, but can anyone see the symbolic aspects between them.

The explosive power and force that came through what is now known as the Blast Zone is the equivalent of a thousand explosive bombs.  The damage from the actual volcanic eruption made the surrounding area appear desert-like, when before 1980, it was rich in vegetation.  Due to the desert-like scenery may have lead the producers and animators to make the first two seasons for Generation 1 appear like a desert was surrounding the volcano, as seen below.  This image was taken from the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which is 5 miles from the actual volcano.  So, if one was standing right here during the eruption, one would be dead. However, by looking at the area surrounding the volcano, it looks like a desert. 

This may be Portland, Oregon according to the producers and animators for the Generation 1 cartoon series that was produced in 1980s.   This may be how they viewed the region from the volcano to where the city of Portland is located.  

So what is the volcano doing now? It is still very active and blowing some steam as well as occasional erupting. The eruptions are nothing like its 1980 eruption, they have been minor since 2004.  The eruptions are helping Mt. St. Helens to rebuild its top after losing a good portion of the volcano during the eruption.  Also, the eruptions indicates that there is a new magma source underneath the volcano or it did not use all of it during the eruption 30 years ago. 

Return to Entrance Page

Created on July 30, 2010    Updated on July 30, 2010