Deep Space LIVE
Mount St. Helens – The Volcano is Active
Thursday, February 9, 2012 / 8 PM / Ars Electronica Center
(Linz, February 7, 2012) Spirit Lake, which was decimated by the powerful eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano on May 18, 1980, is the featured attraction at the next Deep Space LIVE this Thursday, February 9. To shoot this documentary for Universum, the nature series on Austrian TV, Erich Pröll revisited this area 30 years after the catastrophe and became the first filmmaker to dive Spirit Lake and shoot underwater footage there. In Deep Space at the Ars Electronica Center, Pröll will provide interesting background about the volcano, show a clip from his Universum episode, and give a behind-the-scenes look at work on the set.
Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in Washington State in the US Northwest. Its eruption on May 18, 1980 caused the mountain’s entire northern peak to slide 400 meters downhill. A pyroclastic flow, a stream of ash and expelled gasses, sped down from the cone at up to 400 km/hour, its enormous destructive power wiping out the area’s entire flora and fauna. Since 1982, the volcano and its slowly recovering environs have been a protected nature reserve.
Following the volcano’s eruption, Spirit Lake on the north side of Mount St. Helens was filled with volcanic material. For years, its surface was covered with the tree trunks that a pyroclastic flow had washed down the mountain. Sulfur and other minerals produced acidification of the water that was then unable to support life. Nevertheless, the regeneration of Spirit Lakes did not last several decades as scientists had expected—the precipitation and temperature cycles of two winters was all it took to get the re-oxygenation process underway.
Linz native Erich Pröll is one of the world’s most successful makers of nature films. This globetrotting producer has over 100 mini-series and made-for-TV documentaries to his credit over several decades, including several for the ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Company’s Universum program. Erich Pröll has filmed just about everywhere on the high seas. His footage of giant whale sharks in the Pacific has attained legendary status, no less so his film of the wreck of the Umbria that has become a reef off the coast of Port Sudan.